Negotiations on all three awards – Permanent, Retained and D&D – have continued in earnest over the three weeks since SITREP 32. These negotiations are being impacted upon by other significant pressures and developments including (but not limited to):
for the Retained Award, the Department’s proposed Risk Based Response Protocol (see SITREP 31 and SITREP 32);
for the Permanent Award, an emerging (yet still unclear) cardiac assistance proposal for all emergency services, as mentioned in Commissioner’s Corner 652 on 7 December; and
for the Death and Disability Award, a multitude of complex issues around the intended introduction of compulsory, in-service health and fitness assessments.
Each of these are critically important issues in their own right with huge long-term implications for our job, and any one of them would ordinarily consume most of the Union’s time and energy. That all three are being tackled and negotiated at the same time, and in conjunction with our wage negotiations, explains why there has been no SITREP for three weeks.
Thank you to the members who have submitted award suggestions, and to all members for your patience and understanding while these negotiations continue. It remains our expectation that all three awards will be finalised before their nominal expiration in February and March next year.
Finally, SITREP 32 promised a report on our meeting with the Minister and the Department’s response to our recent letters about FRNSW budget cuts. The Minister acknowledged our concerns, but promised nothing, and the latest correspondence is as follows:
Permanent members will be aware that a new FRNSW “Mobility and Transfer” policy was released this week. While the Union has a long standing policy of not intervening in most “in-area” transfers, we were consulted and did negotiate a number of changes to the Dept’s policy, including:
encouraging managers to consider discussing transfer options with members who have not been transferred for 5 or more years instead of automatically transferring every member, every 5 years;
measures to ensure that involuntary transfers do not financially disadvantage members in receipt of a qualification allowance; and
a rotation system, with a ballot if necessary, to select relieving firefighters, and the ability of long-term officers to be relievers.
Discussions on the question of how long a qualification allowance should be paid after transfer (our current position is indefinitely) continue. Meanwhile, the Union’s long-standing policy (see SITREP 14/2011) that ‘no member can be transferred if their transfer will result in them losing a qualification allowance’ remains. Any member who receives notice of transfer contrary to this should contact the Union.
For a printable copy of this SITREP, please click here.