SitRep 22/2020

May 9, 2020

  • FRNSW disrespectful failure to consult on Medical Work: Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) Update
  • CODE RED – Clarification
  • Public Sector Wage Freeze

FRNSW disrespectful failure to consult on Medical Work: Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) Update

On May 6 at 15:59HRS FRNSW sent the FBEU a letter asking to ‘collaborate’ about the ‘implementation’ of the PAD program. The letter is here.

At 16:44HRS FRNSW emailed all firefighters about the same.

The introduction of new work, and especially medical work is a long-standing significant issue for firefighters. The announcement of this new program without any consultation was of substantial concern to SCOM and so, on May 6, we issued a Code Red expressing our concerns about FRNSW attempt to introduce new work with no consultation.

On May 7, FRNSW wrote to us again – this time to express their ‘disappointment’ and to say they indeed wanted to ‘consult’.

State Committee has met a number of times over the last couple of days to discuss this very complex issue and the unacceptable way in which FRNSW has attempted to expand into medical work with no consultation. The failure to consult is provocative, at best.

Yesterday we wrote to FRNSW to express our serious concerns. You can read our letter here.

The letter clearly expresses our concerns about the lack of respect the Department has showed all firefighters, and your union by announcing ‘implementation’ of a program in an area of such significance to members. It also touches on the fact that professional firefighters will not allow medical work to creep into our roles. We are also significantly concerned about the work health and safety issues this program may bring.

We are well aware of our Commissioner’s work to expand the role of firefighters into medical work in New Zealand. I encourage you to have a read (although, please note: it mentions trauma and suicide and may be triggering for some) of this recent article about the staggering mental health impact on firefighters in New Zealand after the implementation of a similar program.

Needless to say, we have many, many, many concerns – about your pay, conditions, safety, mental health and put simply, the absolutely disrespectful approach our employer has taken about this issue.

The parties will meet early next week to discuss PAD and as soon as we have more information, we will discuss it and our next steps, with all of you.


Clarification has been sought by members about the Code Red that was sent on Wednesday 6 May.

Put simply, it is the status quo.

The only members who should be directed to a purely medical call is Community First Response (CFR) Firefighters.

Assisting ambulance should only be in the capacity as a firefighter. If you’re not breaking it down or lifting it, it is not our job. To clarify: we assist the Paramedics not the patient.

Members should inform Fire Comms that they won’t be responding to anything outside of this and Fire Comms Supervisors should inform Ambulance NSW that FRNSW does not have a closer response to this incident.

Public Sector Wage Freeze

In March, the Berejiklian Coalition Government proposed a one-off wage freeze for all public sector workers. This would mean that the 2.5% wage increase would cease until 2021.

This week, SCOM has overwhelming voted to support a fight back against this disgraceful proposal. Not only is the timing of this proposal disastrous for many workers and their families given the bushfires and the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it also undermines the value of all public sector workers.

Public sector employees should not be used as the scapegoats to try and fix the budgetary failings of this Government.

The FBEU will continue to support Unions NSW and all other unions in order to defend the pay and conditions of our members and all public sector employees.

In Unity,

Leighton Drury

State Secretary

You can download this SitRep here.



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