SITREP 27 reported our expectation that a conditional agreement on a new rank, promotions and pay framework last week would be confirmed by a detailed and documented agreement that would be filed with the IRC this week, and released to the membership today with SITREP 28. Unfortunately, while good progress was made a final document is still probably a day or two away. More in SITREP 29.
Bullying & Harassment – no place in our Union
Yesterday Commissioner Mullins emailed all staff with a blunt warning regarding bullying and harassment between members of FRNSW. On this issue I stand in firm agreement with the Commissioner. It is 2014, and some of the attitudes that characterised the Brigades in days gone by are simply no longer on. Getting away with it in the past shouldn’t be taken as an endorsement of this behaviour continuing now.
The Union’s position on this question is informed by two things. One is simply that it is the right thing to do. Dignity and respect in the workplace should not be an optional extra. Much of the Union’s history has been a fight for dignity at work – we must have the same standards in our treatment of each other as we demand from the employer. No one should be stood over or treated differently on the basis of their religion, sexuality, ethnicity or gender. As importantly, if we are to remain a strong and united Union we cannot afford to have some members being treated differently to others. Solidarity with each other is a basic requirement for our ongoing strength, and any member who undermines that undermines our Union.
I intend to take a policy statement on this question to this year’s Annual General Meeting, and look forward to the debate that will accompany that.
Retainer rip off – update #2
The Union this week continued to investigate the underpayment of retainers to members, after more contact from retained members concerned they had been underpaid over the course of some years. In one case, we retrieved more than $3,000 of backpay owing to a member. The Union will continue to report on this; in the meantime, members who suspect they might have been underpaid should contact the Union.
Workers at the Ausreo site at Wetherill Park are entering their eighth week on the picket line. These low paid manufacturing workers asked for pay equity with Victorian employees of the same company. The employer’s response was to lock them out. An FBEU contingent attended the rally they held this week at the site, and it’s clear that while they’re doing it tough these workers are not going to back down.
I encourage on duty crews in area, or off duty members, to drop by the picket at Newton Road, Wetherill Park and let them know you support them. It’s a small thing, but it means a lot. A strike fund is also operating, and interested members can donate at: