SitRep 07/2019

May 17, 2019


  • Change the Rules – Change the Government
  • Staff Changes
  • NSW Liberals say YOU should pay for cancer legislation
  • Award Time is Coming – Time to Get Talking
  • In Brief


Change The Rules – Change The Government

The Federal Election is on tomorrow, Saturday 18th May 2019. The Australian Union movement has been campaigning nationally, focusing particularly in key marginal seats.  Tomorrow, union members will be turning out to talk with voters at polling booths in key electorates.  Job security, penalty rates, wage stagnation, and inequality are big issues this election.
As we know, policies in NSW make it very difficult for us to improve our pay and working conditions.  Any measures that see to the positive increase in wages and improvement of workplace rights are good for all of us as we prepare to negotiate our Award.  A rising tide lifts all boats, as they say.
Our decision tomorrow is not just about us; it’s about our kids, our partners, friends, and our community.  If you are volunteering tomorrow for The Change the Rules campaign, we at the FBEU hope you have a great day.  We encourage all FBEU members to have a chat with any Change the Rules campaigners you see tomorrow as you go to vote.

Staff Changes

This month is FBEU Senior Industrial Officer and Life Member Chris Read’s last with the union, 25 years after he was elected State Secretary in May 1994.  Chris stood down as our State Secretary in February 2005 to take up a position on the Union’s industrial staff alongside Senior Industrial Officers Gemma Lawrence, George Maniatis and Hugh Clouston, each of whom will also be leaving us shortly.  All four staff leave us with our best wishes and deep appreciation for their dedication and hard work for the membership. 
Meanwhile, February saw the first of several new union staffers come on board, with FBEU Senior Organiser Emily Mayo making a real impact with our recent NSW state election campaigning.  Keep an eye out for Emily, and for further announcements of other new staff members shortly.

NSW Liberals say YOU pay for cancer legislation

Members will recall our campaign to ensure NSW Firefighters were compensated if we contracted cancer as a result of our work.  The NSW Liberal National Government resited and resisted as we fought for members and all firefighters to be compensated.  We campaigned long and hard, resulting in a win for those members who make claims after a certain date.  However, despite our best efforts, we saw the Government vote against legislation that would have protected those of us already diagnosed.  Now, as they return for another term, the Liberals have quietly tried to pass on the cost of your cancer legislation to you and to our communities.
NSW Shadow Treasurer Ryan Park said, “The NSW Liberals and Nationals have simply not been honest with the public. They never once said how this package would be paid for and have sneakily passed the cost on to the people of NSW.  This is a vital package for our firefighters. Instead of paying for it out of consolidated revenue and through the workers’ compensation scheme, the Liberal and Nationals have decided to pass the cost on to ordinary people.  People, including the career and volunteer firefighters who so desperately need this package”.
We are very proud of this win and we expect that the NSW Government will not pass on the costs. If this action is anything to go by, we need to prepare for a real struggle ahead of our Award.

Award Time Is Coming – Time To Get Talking

Our Union is about to begin discussions with all members about our up and coming Awards.
The Awards set your terms and conditions, and it’s up to all of us to participate in protecting the terms and provisions won by those who have come before us. It’s also up to us to get active, if we want to improve our pay and working conditions.
The Wage cap, The Labour Expense Cap and the ongoing budgetary pressures faced by the department are nothing new.  It will be up to members to decide how we negotiate, what we negotiate for and ultimately, what we settle for.
The best thing every member can do to prepare for this round is to:

  • Start to discuss with your co-workers about what you want and what you think
  • Make sure you have a Station Delegate
  • Attend the upcoming meetings and participate to ensure you have your say.

         We will have more details for you all soon.

In Brief 
  • As reported in Sitrep 6, 2019 members should have received back pay from our successful prosecution of the recall kilometres dispute on the 25th April 2019.  We are collating outstanding issues and will be meeting with the Department soon to address them.
  • Members have reported the Department has rejected claims for training course pay entitlements as per Sitrep 5.  Members who have had a claim rejected after following our advice should email with a copy of all the claims and rejection notifications for follow up.

Leighton Drury
State Secretary




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