SitRep 29/2019

December 16, 2019

  • Deployment Dramas
  • Consolidated Leave over the Christmas and New Year
  • Climate and Fire Emergency Rally Sydney Town Hall
  • FBEU Office over the break
  • In Brief

Deployment Dramas

The Union has received several inquiries about pay and entitlements from members while on deployment. In SitRep 28/2019, we updated everyone on the status of the Northern Rivers dispute and what the impact the dispute is having on current intrastate deployments. Unfortunately, this dispute has meant that there is a lot of confusion around pay and entitlements.

FRNSW’s Appeal will be heard on 7 February 2020 in the Supreme Court of NSW. In the meantime, there is a stay on the District Court decision. The ‘stay’ means that the first interpretation in the Local Court will stand until the Appeal of February 2020 is decided.

The Union has created a form for members to use to keep track of their hours while on deployment. We strongly encourage everyone to fill these out as best they can as it will better allow us to manage concerns about potential underpayment once the dispute has been decided.

We have also had members contact us with concerns around the quality of food being provided and other allowances, which we are addressing with the Department. More to follow.

Consolidated Leave over the Christmas and New Year 

We’ve had a number of calls from members about using Consolidated Leave over the Christmas and New Year break. We can confirm that this is the process members need to follow:

  1. Firefighters seeking to access Consolidated Leave on Christmas and New Year’s Day will be required in the first instance to source their replacement using the form in Standing Orders. The completed form is to be provided to the Duty Commander for the applicable shift.
  2. If absences (after these arrangements have been used) still require staffing supplementation, then the e-recall lists will be used.

Climate and Fire Emergency Rally Sydney Town Hall

Last week I spoke at this rally which drew an incredible crowd – estimate by the organisers and police to be 20,000. You can read about my speech and the action here:

Here’s some quotes from my speech:

“This government has failed to invest adequately in fire services. Towns, regional centres, suburbs and areas of development have been left dangerously under resourced.

Almost a decade of denial about the changes in the environment from this government has led to us being here today. Our State is in drought, our water is scarce, our firefighters are spread thin and the volunteers are exhausted.

Firefighters put out fires. Politicians put out policy and budgets. We are doing our job. They need to do a better job of theirs.”

As a fire emergencies grip the State, I have been out and about talking with the community and media and calling on the government to invest in our fire services. We have been making calls for more resources for years and they have fallen on deaf ears. The crisis we face now is not one that should come as a surprise. NSW needs more firefighters, more firefighting resources and a Government that cares about our important work in the community.

We need to continue to educate the community about how our fire services work, how stretched thin we are, and we need to push this government to do a much better job when it comes to firefighters and fire services.

FBEU Office over the break

The FBEU office will be closed from Friday 20th December until Monday 6 January. Members with current issues and matters will be aware of where their matters are up to. Should members face an urgent and immediate issue requiring attention in this period, please contact your SCOM Rep who will be able to contact staff and myself in the event that an urgent matter requires attention. I want to thank the staff for their work and commitment to our union. They do a great job and we have an excellent team to support us.

In Brief

  • Industrial Relations Commissioner Sloan heard evidence on Friday from both the Department and the FBEU on the Department’s proposed rescission of In Order 2008/22. We will publish the decision once it is handed down (hopefully before years end).
  • There is a meeting with the Department this week regarding Technical Support Teams, the trial at Urunga and the Department’s installation of a tanker at Peak Hill. These will be reported on in the next SitRep.

Leighton Drury

State Secretary

You can download this SitRep here.