As reported in SITREPs 44 and 45, the Union and Department have been appearing before the IRC’s Justice Staff over the correct entitlements of retained members who attended the October bushfires. The Union has now conducted an inspection of the Department’s wage records and obtained the details of all retained firefighters who attended the bushfire emergency, whether under Clause 6 or Clause 29, their hours worked, the accommodation provided (or not) and the wages actually paid.
Claims for 8 hour breaks to be reviewed
The matter returned to the IRC on 3, 10 and 13 December (ie, today), with productive conciliation taking place, and the Union securing an undertaking that the Department will fully review the claim of any member working under Clause 29 who believes that they did not receive a continuous 8 hour break between the cessation of work at night and the re-commencement of work the next morning. If this is you, and your claim is found to be correct, then you are entitled to continuous and uninterrupted payment through until your next break of 8 hours or more actually commenced. Members who think they did not receive an 8 hour break should contact the Union office for further advice and assistance.
Accommodation – Department directed to pay
The question of whether or not appropriate accommodation was provided remains firmly in dispute.
On Tuesday the Department responded to our claim for the full overnight accommodation allowance of $241.80 for members who stayed at Chevalier College, Bowral and $301.85 for members who stayed at Skoda Stadium, Homebush with a without-prejudice offer to pay $100 per night to members at both locations. The Union rejected this offer on the grounds that we weren’t seeking a favour, just our members’ Award entitlements. The Department responded to that by withdrawing their offer altogether. This appeared to leave the IRC’s Justice Staff less than impressed. Things only got worse for the Department when it told the Judge that it would not observe any recommendation he might make.
Justice Staff duly responded by directing, not recommending, that the Department pay every member who stayed at Chevalier College $150 per night, and every member who stayed at Skoda Stadium $200 per night. His Honour set the matter down for further report on 18 December. More to follow.
First responder trial?
Commissioner Mullins wrote to the Union on 28 November seeking the Union’s in-principle support for a first responder trial by permanent members in Sydney. The Union’s State Committee yesterday resolved to offer that support, but with certain conditions attached.
Copies of both the Commissioner’s letter and the Union’s letter in response can be found by clicking here.
Drug and Alcohol testing FAQ
Next week’s SITREP will feature the Union’s advice and instructions regarding application of the Department’s AOD Policy.