The Union this week filed an application with the IRC for a new Retained Award that, if made, will provide increases in retained rates of pay of 12.5% over three years, reaching $37.65 per hour for Captains and $32.57 per hour for other retained ranks by February 2015. We have sought an interim 2.5% increase, backdated to Friday, while award negotiations continue. More on this in SITREP 9/13.
This Retained application coincided with the 3rd of three wage rises under the 2011 Permanent Award which took effect on Friday, 22 February. Fortnightly wages increased, for example, by $52.18 for Recruits, $69.90 for Senior Firefighters, $84.02 for Station Officers L2 and $100.84 for Inspectors.
Most allowances also increased on and from Friday including the relieving kilometre allowance (now $1.13 per km), the relieving allowance (now $30.31) and all qualification allowances. Meal, refreshment and travelling compensation allowances are, however, adjusted separately each July in line with reasonable allowance amounts published annually by the Australian Taxation Office.
SITREP 7/13 reported that the Union had met with the Department to discuss the AMP letters already sent to permanent members in regional zones, and that as a result many were to be withdrawn. The Union’s industrial staff are assisting members who were still required to “show cause” with their responses, with all replies expected to be finalised by early in the coming week.
SITREP 7/13 also reported that the Department was expected to begin issuing show cause letters to metro members shortly and that a Union AMP guide would be issued in today’s SITREP, however we were this week informed that these letters are apparently still some 2 or 3 weeks away. This delay, and the arrangement of a further meeting between the parties to review the AMP and sick leave this coming week, means that publication of the Union’s guide is also on hold.
Meal and Refreshment allowance claims
Meals and refreshments have been the cause of many a dispute, particularly their definitions and, more recently, how these allowances should be claimed and paid. Ongoing negotiations over the past 12 months have led to in-principle agreement with the Department for the use of the electronic Travel and Expense (T&E) claim system, Emergency Meals, new definitions for Refreshments and Substantial Meals and the provision of tea/coffee making facilities on all appliances.
A further notice explaining these new arrangements will follow shortly, but for now the advice contained in SITREP 21/2012 is withdrawn and members should now claim all incident meal and refreshment allowances through the electronic T&E system. This includes any older, outstanding claims. The Department has agreed that members who have already been paid the nett amount from petty cash in accordance with SITREP 21/2012 are not required to repay those amounts. Finally, permanent members who are entitled to overtime meal allowances (subclause 10.3.1) are still to be paid the full $27.10, which is not subject to any tax, from petty cash prior to the cessation of duty.
Vice President and Acting State Secretary