The Union, the Department and the TOLing dispute today returned to the IRC following the State Committee’s decision last week to decline Justice Backman’s recommendation that the cost saving proposals rejected by the September SGM should be put to another general meeting of members (see SITREP 43/2012). This did not sit well with Her Honour, who proceeded to then lift her recommendation that the Department defer TOLing permanent stations.
Consequently there is no longer any IRC impediment to management closing permanent stations. Despite this opportunity, Acting Commissioner Jim Smith this evening agreed to the Union’s request that TOLing of permanent stations will remain on hold to allow further (and almost certainly, final) discussions to take place on Monday.
Update on new Conditions Award
Back on 5 November, Commissioner Mullins warned that, if successful, the Union’s Conditions Award application (see SITREP 36/2012) “will ensure that FRNSW exceeds budget by millions of dollars. This will ultimately have far more serious ramifications than TOLing, and it appears likely that the FBEU has not thought this through.” This is both patronising and wrong. The Union is well aware of the consequences of its application, TOLing and the Government’s reckless budget cuts, with the first safeguarding the status-quo and the latter two guaranteed to result in firefighter job cuts.
The Union this week filed an amended application for its new Conditions Award a full copy of which can be downloaded here. Old application or new, the Department and NSW Government remain staunchly opposed to the making of this new award. The matter is scheduled for conciliation before the IRC’s Justice Staff on 3 December. More to follow.
Attendance Management Policy (AMP) under review
Further to SITREP 37/2012, after warning the Union in July of escalating sick leave levels the Department then responded to the September SGM vote by giving notice on 18 September of its intention to vary the Attendance Management Policy (AMP) in accordance with subclause 23.14 of the Permanent Award. Needless to say, the variations proposed by the Department were considerably harsher than the current Policy (which the Union has consistently argued has never been properly put into effect anyway) and so on 24 September the Union responded by invoking the status-quo provisions of subclause 23.15.
Since that time the AMP has been the subject of numerous conciliation conferences before the IRC’s Justice Staff, with proceedings to resume next Thursday. More to follow.