SitRep 23/2020

May 15, 2020

PAD, EAD, MFR… Whatever the name – New Medical Work

After extensive discussions late last Friday we listed the new medical work announced by the Department in the Industrial Relations Commission, it was heard by Chief Commissioner Constant this week. As most members would know Medical First Response (or some variety of it) has been touted by the Department for nearly two decades.

Neither the Union or the Department in that time have definitively resolved the issue, as in, do we do it or not.

Different models have been proposed by the Department and the Union has held different positions over that time. Medical First Responder, Emergency Medical Response, Early Access Defibrillator and now Public Access Defibrillator. The Unions position has gone from not doing it all (except for Community First Responder – which was arbitrated, and a rate of pay settled) to the position of a pay rise and an agreed model from Special General Meeting in 2015 – for permanent firefighters.

This week the Chief Commissioner sent the parties to consult. We met shortly after the IRC hearing and will continue to meet weekly before a report back on 25 June to the Chief Commissioner.

The Department will be asked to provide all information about this proposed new work so that we can inform the membership and you will determine if it addresses conditions 1 (pay rise) and 2 (agreed model) of that 2015 position. We also need to understand why it is being proposed we do this work, and how it is that we do the work. We are also significantly concerned about the WHS impacts and risks of any medical work – and we do not believe there has been any consultation with HSRs about this.

We need to deeply understand this program and its potential impacts and do not agree to any implementation until consultation has taken place, and the parties have reached agreement. Any new or additional work needs to be carefully considered and, put bluntly, valued if it is appropriate that it be done at all.

We were also in the IRC today on Bystander Engagement & Firefighter Readiness training. We banned it at short notice this week as it is quite obvious that this is linked to the medical work even though the Department denies it is. We have received information from the membership that contradicts what has been officially put to your officials by the Department about there being no connection of this training to the new medical work. It appears that the “Core Values” of Respect and Integrity are hollow words for some in management.

IRC Commissioner Murphy will sit in on the training this coming Monday and we will be surveying the members who attend both Monday and Tuesday’s session to get their feedback. We are back before Commissioner Murphy next Wednesday.

WH and S Organising – HSRs coming together

As we have reported in recent SitReps the FBEU is supporting existing HSRs and all members interested in trying to improve safety at work.

The FBEU has held a number of meeting with members and are prepared to enter into discussions with your employer around safety systems.

The workgroups and structures in place currently were set a number of years ago and now is a good time to look at how they can be improved.

We are not aware, for example, that HSRs have been consulted at all about the proposed introduction of new medical work and the health and safety aspects of such a program – which are potentially substantial. In the future with better systems and the FBEU supporting HSRs and committees to work together it would be our expectation that the Department would consult with HSRs and the FBEU about such a significant proposal.

The team is awaiting confirmation from FRNSW about a meeting for early next week. A number of FBEU member HSRs will attend the meeting alongside myself and staff. There are a number of areas where we think we can make substantial improvements including:

  1. The number, locations (work groups) and support provided to
  2. The structures and processes in place to improve ‘big picture’ consultation about WH and S.
  3. The ways in which HSRs work together, support each other, are trained and exercise their import roles locally and across the state.

We look forward to productive discussions with FRNSW because having great WHS systems and structures is good for all.

We will report back. If you are keen to be involved in this organising – please contact Emily Mayo or 0491 281 795.

Meetings by Zoom – Next round

Our first rounds of geographically based delegates meetings have been a huge success and while we cannot wait to get our organising team back in your stations and workplaces and some restrictions are being lifted, we have scheduled another round of meetings starting next week.

In the zoom meetings delegates have shared issues and found solutions, have met each other, sometimes for the first time, and most groups are setting up communication groups as an outcome of the meetings. Organisers are supporting delegates to work together and with all members in your stations and workplaces.

Meetings times and zoom links will be sent directly to delegates next week. If you do not receive these directly, please contact your organiser listed below. If you do not have a delegate – e.g. no one is reporting back to you about these meetings, then get in touch with the organising team to support you to get one.

In addition to the geographical meetings organisers and State Committee have been meeting with groups of members around a variety of issues including station meetings and meetings of groups of members like E and T and Country Stations with vacant reliever roles.

If you want more information about any meetings, please contact the organiser responsible for supporting delegates and members in your area:

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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