SitRep 20/2020

April 23, 2020

  • Award Back Pay
  • Overpayment Update
  • Work Health and Safety is Union Business
  • E & T Realignment
  • Coronavirus Updates
  • Zoom Meetings – off to a flying start

Award Back Pay

A reminder that the backpay for members’ 2.5% wage increase from 17 February will be paid in one lump sum and will be issued in today’s pay.

The additional provisions negotiated into your Award can now be accessed:

  • Members can apply for Long Service Leave in single day increments; and
  • Members can enter into part change of shift arrangements (PCOS) whilst on annual leave.

Both of these entitlements can be accessed via their respective standard processes.

Members experiencing Domestic and Family Violence can access 10 days paid special leave for various purposes as outlined in the award. The Union and FRNSW have agreed to negotiate a comprehensive policy around this important matter and these discussions will commence shortly. In the meantime, those needing to access the leave are encouraged to call your union for assistance

Overpayment Update

In previous SitReps we told you about a series of overpayments that had been issued to our members. At the time, we demanded that FRNSW audit their processes. The audits have now been finalised and FRNSW have established a series of underpayments as well as overpayments.

The adjustments for the underpayments will be made and paid to affected members by the 22 May 2020 pay period. For those who have incurred an alleged overpayment FRNSW have agreed to:

  • Delay issuing letters and alert the FBEU regarding how many members are affected;
  • Draft simple communication for each member explaining how the alleged overpayment occurred; and
  • Advise affected members of their ability to question the calculations before any deductions are made to their pay.

Members will be updated as this matter progresses.

Work Health and Safety is Union Business 

Following on from Reports in SitRep 18, the FBEU and FRNSW have agreed to extend the period for the election of new HSRs and for consultation about WHS systems and structures more broadly.

More than 20 FBEU member HSRs joined in a recent Zoom meeting and almost 40 members are now actively participating in our WHS/HSR organising group (You can register here to be a part of it). Those that participated in the zoom meeting agreed on a way forward and we have progressed our work in line with that.

The FBEU has committed to meet with FRNSW representatives in the week of 11 May to have discussions about the WHS structures and other related issues. To do that we need your thoughts.

If you are a HSR currently please share your thoughts about how things are working and how we could improve them here.

We are also interested in hearing from all members about how things are working from your perpective. Please take the 5 minutes to share your thoughts here.

We will use the HSR and member contributions to guide us in discussions with management about any ways we can make the WHS systems and structures work better for you, the workers. Please take the time to share your thoughts.

Thanks from me to all the HSRs who are keenly participating in the organising work in this important space. We know WHS issues are very important to all members and your contributions are valued and important.

E & T Realignment

Members would be aware of the realignment occurring for those in the Education & Training Directorate. This realignment was meant to have come into affect on Monday, 20 April 2020, but the union has successfully argued for an extension to allow for greater consultation.

The revised implementation date is Thursday, 21 May 2020. The realignment, as proposed by FRNSW, would see a variety of employees moved to different teams and an increase in the number of civilian roles within the directorate.

There have been a series of Zoom Conferences with Organiser Max Murphy to allow for affected employees to raise any concerns they have with the realignment. Contact Max on 0408 617 217 if you would like to raise any concerns or would like to hold a Zoom conference for your team. The Union is aiming to take on your concerns and present this to FRNSW Management.

Coronavirus Updates

Safety Visit Program during COVID-19

It has come to the Union’s attention that FRNSW released instructions concerning the continuance of the Safety Visit Program during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst we want to make sure that vulnerable members of our communities have functioning smoke alarms, we also want to make sure that members aren’t put at unnecessary risk.

Therefore, members are instructed to only respond to requests if the smoke alarm is chirping or has become dislodged from the wall, or is not operating for any other reason. If requests fall outside of this, they should be noted and dealt with once COVID restrictions are lifted. Members of the public who fall in to the non urgent catergory should also be advised that if this situation changes ie the detector is not working properly; to call back and request a replacement.

In saying this, members should follow these guidelines as prescribed by FRNSW:

  1. Asking the four questions at the door before entering the premises:
  • Has anyone inside been overseas?
  • Does anyone inside have a fever or dry cough?
  • Has anyone inside had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient?
  • Has anyone inside been diagnosed with pneumonia or any other medical condition?
  1. No more than 2 firefighters are to enter the dwelling
  2. Appropriate PPE is to be worn including P2 mask and gloves
  3. Maintain social distancing and minimise time inside the dwelling
  4. Decontaminate on conclusion or as required during the visit
  5. Maintain a record of the visit in the Safety Visit APP and in the e-Book.

Members are also not to conduct the visit unless the OIC is satisfied there is no undue risk to members and following the completion of a risk assessment.

COVID-19: Traveller Issues

This pandemic is having an impact on all of us and the way we go about our daily lives. One of the unforeseen consequences of the pandemic is the impact this would have on domestic travel.

The Union has been trying our best to assist members who would normally commute to work via air travel. We have put every case of hardship to the Department for assessment. The assessment is done on a case-by-case basis.

The process to apply for alternative working arrangements remains as previously advised. Any member who feels they have a case for a change to their work arrangement should email their Zone Commander, copying in their Station Officer and Duty Commander, as well as

You should include in your email your situation and your case for a change in arrangements and you should ask for a response in writing. If you need assistance writing the email or with the response – please get in touch with the Industrial Officers via via or 02 9218 3444.

Zoom Meetings – off to a flying start

As reported most recently in SitRep 19 our Zoom delegates meetings have kicked off and are going really well. We’ve had up to 10 delegates calling in on each meetings and many of you are brand new. It’s great stuff. Every Zoom meeting has included staff and members of the SCOM and Executive and we’ve loved the questions, interactions, ideas and suggestions coming out of the meetings. The discussions have been productive, positive and to the point. Thank you to all who have and will participate.

We are determined to keep our organising work up through COVID-19 and I am glad to see members and delegates are too.

A special mention to our retained delegates who are really embracing the use of the Zoom – and while the Zoom won’t replace face-to-face meetings and visits – they will certainly be something we continue once physical distancing because of COVID-19 is no longer required (although, that could be some time yet).

Please read SitRep 19 for details of the current round of meetings and please get in touch with the organiser responsible for your area if you need assistance with the Zoom or with electing a delegate.

Our organising team are:

  • Max Murphy – Regional West, Metro West, MS3 – 0408 617 217
  • Georgie Slater – Metro North, Regional North, ME3 – 0417 924 151
  • Jonathon Wright – Metro South (Minus MS3), Regional South, ME 1 and ME 2 – 0419 753 305

In Unity,  

Leighton Drury

State Secretary

You can download this SitRep here.



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