Members would be aware that the Union banned the Electricity SOGs Training Audit Template (see SITREP 43/2011) after the Department pressed Station Commanders to certify the completion of training drills without any real training, lesson plans or practical support from the Department.
Rather than recognising and addressing our concerns, the Department chose to run off to the IRC which on Monday went on to recommend that the Union lift the ban, but also that the Department not lean on Station Commanders to complete the audit document while negotiations continued. The Commissioner unhelpfully issued a misleading email on Tuesday, including plainly incorrect claims that the Union had not raised the matter beforehand and omitting important details like the Department’s failure to consult, as required by the permanent and retained Awards, and the IRC’s recommendation that management not pressure members to complete the audit.
So what does the Union want? Essentially nothing more than a commitment from the Department that all future SOGs (including amended SOGs) will be issued in conjunction with a suitable update to the Station Training Program and practical support tools for the Station Commander members who are expected to deliver such critically important training.
Members are advised that the Union’s ban on the Training Audit Template that was imposed last Friday has now been lifted after the Department this afternoon agreed that no Station Commander will be pressured to complete the Training Audit Template while negotiations with the Union continue and further, that the Station Training Program will be updated asap to include the new Electricity SOGs. More to follow.
HR driving excessive sick leave
When a permanent member proceeded on sick leave back in January, he had no idea that he’d be locked out by the Department and prevented from returning to work for months on end. Now, almost a year later, he is still not back at work. Why? Who knows, but if you thought it was because he was still unfit for duty you’d be wrong.
When we eventually raised this member’s predicament directly with the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners after months of getting nowhere with middle management, there was much head nodding and concern. So much so in fact that we mistakenly thought we’d have our member off the sick list and back at work within the week. That was on 8 August and the Human Resources Directorate (the same directorate charged with reigning in sick leave) continues to refuse to allow our member to return to work, or even to explain why.
While the Union continues to press this member’s case, it’s hard to take the Department’s complaints about excessive sick leave seriously when management, through mismanagement, continues to cause extended (and completely unnecessary) absences like this.