SITREP 11/2012

March 16, 2012

In this issue:

  • 2012 Union elections
  • Meal and Refreshment Allowances Update
  • T/A claims in the ESS Portal
  • Do it on their time, not yours

2012 Union elections

The following ten candidates have been elected unopposed to the Union’s State Committee of Management (SCOM) for the coming three year 2012-2015 term:

SCOM Office                                                            Member elected

President                                                                  Darin Sullivan

State Secretary                                                       Jim Casey

Central Coast Sub-Branch Secretary                Ken Smith

Country Sub-Branch Secretary                          Tim Anderson

Illawarra Sub-Branch Secretary                       Phil Hay

Newcastle Sub-Branch Secretary                      Luke Russell

Senior Officers Sub-Branch Secretary              Mark Cavanough

Sydney Inner West Sub-Branch Secretary       Martin Dixon

Sydney Outer West Sub-Branch Secretary      Trevor Ross

Sydney South Sub-Branch Secretary                 Michael Nairn

A ballot for the remaining seven positions may take place, depending on candidates remaining after the deadline for withdrawal of nominations at 12 noon on 22 March 2012. If any positions are contested, the NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) will post ballots to all financial members on 29 March 2012. Your ballot paper must be returned to the NSWEC by 5pm 12 April 2012 for your vote to be counted.

The new State Committee will have a good number of new officials. I welcome those members who are taking office for the first time, and take this opportunity to thank them for standing up for their fellow members.

A number of the current State Committee chose to not contest this ballot. I recognise and thank them for their hard work over the last three years. And finally a special thank you to the families of State Committee officials. Without their support your Union’s officials would not be able to do the job we do.

The next three years looks like being the most tumultuous in our Union’s history. The O’Farrell government is ripping up the industrial relations rulebook and has unashamedly proclaimed that they will make public sector employees work harder for less. They’ve legislated that pay rises be lower than inflation. They have clipped the wings of the IRC. They’re pushing injured and sick workers onto the dole queue. They are attempting to increase fines for industrial action from $10,000 to $220,000. And they’ve done all this in just one year. Clearly, there’s more to come.

So the incoming SCOM, and indeed all members, need to be ready to fight. The alternative is to see jobs lost, conditions taken away, wages drop, and our job transformed for the worse.

On a personal note, I was extremely surprised and honoured to be returned unopposed to the position of State Secretary. The challenge of leading the FBEU over the next three years will be enormous. Thank you for your support.

Meal and Refreshment Allowances Update

As reported in last week’s SITREP, the IRC required the parties to meet and report back to the Commission by today. We did meet with the Department on Wednesday and wrote confirming our position, and seeking their response, again, that they will comply with the Awards’ meal and refreshment allowance provisions. The Union sought the urgent relisting of the matter before the IRC, but unfortunately, the Judge handling the dispute was unavailable due to illness. It is anticipated the matter will be listed early next week.

The Union’s position remains that incident meal and refreshment allowances should continue to be paid out of petty cash, and any order from the Department otherwise constitutes a breach of clause 10.4.1 of the Permanent Award, and clause 8.3.1 of the Retained Award. The Union has received advice that whilst incident meal and refreshment allowances are taxable, they are also superable. This is in contrast to overtime meal allowances that are neither taxable nor superable.

If the Department does not agree that incident meal and refreshment allowances are superable, the Union will pursue the matter with the Australian Taxation Office, and, if necessary through the courts.

T/A claims in the ESS Portal

The Union has already received a number of phone calls regarding the “Travel and Expenses ESS Portal” introduced by the Department today. Some members have spent upwards of an hour trying to submit a claim with no success.

The Department has failed to provide members with any training on the new system. It appears they haven’t tested the system either, given the phone calls received today claiming the system doesn’t work.

The Union instructs any member who has difficulty claiming through the online system to continue claiming via miscellaneous voucher.

Do it on their time, not yours

This was originally posted in SITREP 37/2010, but bears repeating. A growing number of members are being encouraged to attend work-related medical appointments outside of rostered hours only to be refused payment for time and travel expenses after the event.

The best way to avoid these sort of problems is to either:

a) make sure that you only do these sort of things on-shift rather than off-duty; and/or

b) confirm your entitlements with management beforehand, not afterwards.

Any member who has attended a work-related medical appointment outside of hours and who has not been paid should contact the Union.

Jim Casey
State Secretary



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