It took longer than expected, but the definitive position on 24 hour shifts promised in SITREP 2/15 has not only been developed, it’s been negotiated to the point of in-principle agreement with the Department. We ran out of time yesterday, but the Department’s formal agreement to the attached terms is expected to follow early next week, as will the details of a March SGM for members to vote on the negotiated position. In the meantime, these will be the terms that 24 hour shifts are worked under on and from 20 February.
The proposed award amendments allow exponentially greater flexibility for members who seek it. They also ensure that members who do not want to work 24 hour shifts will never, ever be forced to, and that the 10/14 Roster will remain the principal roster within FRNSW. More in SITREP 6.
For a copy of the proposed clauses and explanatory notes click here.
Higher retainers – update #1
There are a number of ways to address ongoing retained availability shortages, including the recruitment of additional retained firefighters and, more recently, the offering of the higher retainers for increased availability that the Union devised and then secured through last year’s new Retained Award.
There’s also the half-arsed, penny-pinching way of permanent appliance move ups. A short term saving for management, certainly, but at the cost of both extra jobs and/or higher retainers for our retained members, and of slower (or even no) response from the permanent members in their own area.
Last week the Union wrote to the Department demanding both extra recruitment and higher retainers to address ongoing daytime availability shortages at the Mount Victoria Brigade. We also warned that in the absence of an acceptable reply, the Zone’s practice of moving up Katoomba’s permanent appliance to stand by there would cease. The Department did not reply, so the Union has now banned the movement of permanent appliances to Mount Victoria to cover retained staff shortages. More to follow.
Permanent allowances and qualifications
Recent reports from Metro North on the use of non-qualified to staff to cover Rescue vacancies lead us to remind members (including relievers) that:
in order to maintain a Rescue qualification and receive the qualification allowance you must be attached to a Rescue station, in which case you will then be paid the Rescue Allowance each and every week in accordance with Clause 6 of the Award;
you cannot be used to cover Rescue vacancies unless you are Rescue qualified; and
if you are not attached to a Rescue station then you are not Rescue qualified, are not eligible for the qualification allowance and cannot be used to fill Rescue operator vacancies, retained or permanent.
The same rules apply to Hazmat, Aerial and Communications qualifications and allowances which, as SITREPs 29/2010 and 41/2012 previously advised, are all payable week in, week out, including when on leave (workers comp, annual leave, long service leave, sick leave, etc). Indeed the only time these allowances are not payable is during periods of Leave Without Pay.