SITREP 49/2013

December 20, 2013

baubleInside this issue:

  • Drug and alcohol FAQs now online
  • O’ Farrell cuts public sector wages … and loses – update #5
  • Unions defeat O’Farrell’s crook election laws
  • Retained strike teams and Clause 29 – update #5
  • Retained Award negotiations – update #9
  • Union Office Xmas/New Year Shutdown

Drug and alcohol FAQs now online

Not surprisingly, the commencement of the Department’s new Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Policy and Procedures on 1 December has resulted in many questions from members. While we encourage all members to closely read both the Policy and Procedures documents, we also recognise that it’s (a) pretty detailed (b) potentially confusing. So we’ve prepared a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) advice based, funnily enough, on the questions that members have been asking.

To download and print a copy of our FAQ advice, please click here. Our FAQ advice will also be placed on the Union Guides section of our website in the new year to ensure it remains relevant and allow it to updated as more information and/or questions come to hand.

O’ Farrell cuts public sector wages … and loses – update #5

We’ve previously reported on the O’Farrell Government’s shameful attempt to change the law to avoid having to paying public sector members, including FBEU members, an additional 0.25% in super (see SITREPs 26, 27, 28, 32 and 33 of 2013). It lost when the ALP Opposition, supported by the Greens, the Fishers & Shooters and Christian Democrats, successfully blocked the Government in the upper house. That was back in August.

So O’Farrell Government attempted to bully the IRC into reversing its original decision on the basis of “public interest”. And it lost once again.

This week, the IRC’s retiring President Boland handed down his decision confirming the full 2.5% wage increase is payable, regardless of, and in addition to, any increase in compulsory employer superannuation contributions.

But it’s not the end of the matter, with NSW Treasurer Baird confirming that even more public funds will now be wasted in another appeal to Justice Boland’s judgment. There is clearly no length that the O’Farrell Government will not go to in order to deny public sector workers a half-decent wage rise.

Unions defeat O’Farrell’s crook election laws

Back in SITREP 8/2012 (see “O’Farrell’s war on workers – Part 3, election funding”) we reported the passing of legislation by the O’Farrell Government that effectively silenced unions and other community groups from participating in the democratic process. O’Farrell’s so-called “democratic reforms” placed severe restrictions on unions like the FBEU to support any candidate or party who actually supported them.

Following an application by Unions NSW, this week the High Court struck down O’Farrell’s laws in a unanimous judgment which found they breached the implied freedom of political communication in the Australian Constitution – the closest thing Australia has to the right to free speech. Given the Liberals’ penchant for destroying institutions that don’t toe their class war line (the IRC being a perfect example), perhaps Tony Abbott will now look to shutting the High Court too?

The Court’s decision will allow the FBEU to allocate more resources to campaign against the O’Farrell Government’s decisions on TOLing, the 2.5% wage cap and station closures where it will hurt them most – at the March 2015 state election.

Retained strike teams and Clause 29 – update #5

We welcomed the Commissioner’s email to staff last Friday confirming that the Department would abide by the IRC direction to pay $200 per night for members accommodated at Skoda Stadium, and $150 per night at Chevalier College. That’s another $50,000 clawed back by the Union for members.

We were much less impressed by the threat implicit in the Commissioner’s closing line: “By necessity Fire & Rescue NSW will now review whether [our emphasis] and how such deployments will take place in the future …”. So because we dare to claim our Award entitlements instead of being grateful for the scraps they throw us then they might not use us at all in future? Pathetic.

The Union has informed the IRC it has accepted this $200 / $150 settlement on a one-off, without prejudice basis. While the Department is expected to make these payments shortly, and without the need for members to submit claims, members should check their pay advice to ensure that this occurs.

Retained Award negotiations – update #9

Further to our last update in SITREP 47, the Union’s application for a new Retained Award returned once again to the IRC on Wednesday this week. Justice Walton issued directions for the Union to formally respond to the Department’s document of 4 December by 10 January, and has set down 5 February for one last ditch attempt at conciliation before the matter moves to arbitration.

Union Office Xmas/New Year Shutdown

The Union Office will close today and re-open on Monday 6 January. Members requiring assistance over this time may contact a State Committee official:

John Henry, Senior Vice President                             77 Station St Marys C                         0412 786 097

Matthew Murray, Junior Vice President                    17 Station Drummoyne D                 0418 650 803

Ken Smith, Central Coast S-B Secretary                    228 Station Berkeley Vale C              0419 422 612

Tim Anderson, Country S-B Secretary                      216 Station Bathurst C                        0429 770 880

Phil Hay, Illawarra S–B Secretary                             503 Station Wollongong B                 0438 665 802

Luke Russell, Newcastle S-B Secretary                     464 Station Toronto C                         0404 910 521

Phil Gardner, Retained S-B Secretary                       72 Station Merrylands                         0414 435 860

Mark Cavanough, Senior Officers’ S-B Secretary      MN1 Newcastle A                              0413 996 244

Stephen Cresswell, Sydney North S-B Secretary       36 Station Crows Nest A                   0417 688 415

Trevor Ross, Sydney Outer West S-B Secretary        78 Station Dunheved B                      02 92183444

Marty Dixon, Sydney Inner West S-B Secretary        47 Station Revesby C                         0416 307 633

Leighton Drury, Sydney Central West S-B Sec’y      50 Station Hornsby A                         0403 808 536

Wes Smith, Sydney Central S-B Secretary                 1 Station City of Sydney A                 0413 992 110

Richard Neville, Sydney South West S-B Sec’y         HART E                                                0417 497 327

Mick Nairn, Sydney South S-B Secretary                  54 Station Cronulla A                         0423 389 544

On behalf of the officials and staff I wish all members and your families the compliments of the Season.

Jim Casey
State Secretary

For a printable version of this SITREP, please click here.



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