SITREP 5/2012

February 3, 2012

  • Why minimum payments do not equal hours worked
  • SNW Sub-Branch meeting
  • FRNSW thumbs nose at IRC?

Why minimum payments do not equal hours worked

The Union recently received a query regarding whether or not permanent members who are recalled for the purpose of maintaining minimum staffing (permanent or retained) must stay the entire 4 hours in order to receive the minimum 4 hour payment at overtime rates. The short answer is no.

The purpose of these recalls is to maintain minimum staffing. The 4 hour payment is not for 4 hours work, rather it is a minimum payment equivalent to 4 hours pay to ensure that permanent members who are recalled to duty are compensated for their inconvenience.

It has long been Union Policy, and industry custom and practice, that a firefighter recalled to duty is dismissed as soon the duties for which they were recalled to perform are completed. This applies equally to the case of a permanent firefighter recalled to duty as it does to a retained firefighter who responds to an incident. For example, a permanent who is recalled to cover a 2 hour staff shortage and who is dismissed after that 2 hours is still entitled to 4 hours’ o/t without the need to remain on duty for the remaining 2 hours, and a retained member who responds to the station and who is dismissed after only 10 minutes is still entitled to 1 hour’s pay without the need to remain on duty for another 50 minutes.

Members who are instructed to remain on duty for no apparent reason other than managerial pettiness are advised to contact the Union office immediately or if after hours, your State Committee official.

SNW Sub-Branch meeting

This week I attended a meeting of the Sydney North West Sub-Branch at 97 Station. At this well attended meeting over fifty members, with a collective 1500 years membership of the FBEU, received their 25 Years Membership Medal. Our medal presentations are continuing

Comrade Wayne Keevers was also nominated by the Sub-Branch for the Daniel Dakin Award, for his years of work as an FBEU activist. The Dakin Award is named after the first Secretary of the FBEU, Retained Firefighter Daniel Dakin, and is awarded to members who have played an outstanding role in the work of the Union. State Committee will consider the nomination at its February meeting.

FRNSW thumbs nose at IRC?

It was a position of principle for both the NSW Fire Brigades and the Board of Fire Commissioners before it that, as a responsible industrial citizen and a major employer in this state, management would abide by recommendations of the Industrial Relations Commission. Not any more it would seem.

It appears that at least some of the HR blow-ins have now decided that the IRC is to be ignored unless it makes a formal Award or Order. It’s certainly getting harder for us to get any sense or agreement out of them short of one – and even then there’s an increasing tendency for them to regard our Awards as nothing more than rough guides. More to follow next week in SITREP 06/12.

Jim Casey

State Secretary



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