July 3, 2020
- Medical Work
- Retained Covid 19 Restrictions Lifted
- Delegate Training – Registrations Open – Again!
- Health and Safety Organising
- Eden-Monaro by-election
- Armidale Driver Training Centre
- NIIENM Forms
It’s becoming clear that FRNSW went into this proposal unable to clearly articulate how this new work was different to other iterations of medical work considered in the past. The only key difference identified to date is that the Public Access Defibrillator proposal is built on the preconceived idea that no money will be spent: no extra training, no extra recourses, no additional support for psychological injury, and no renumeration. Members would expect that such a position was based on a robust risk assessment with Health Safety Representatives, and perhaps a business plan. Neither exist. Instead FRNSW have detailed a rushed, one and a half page Risk Assessment at the last minute, and in which consultation with HSRs is a complete afterthought. It falls short to say the very least. This is what the select group of HSRs had to say about their experience in this rushed document:
- “It shouldn’t be just me they consult with it should be taken to the whole committee”
- FRNSW had said words to the effect of – the risk assessment had landed on my desk and I need a quick turn around on it “can you give me some feedback before tomorrow”
- “I felt rushed and pressured that I hadn’t had enough time to consult colleagues and put forward their opinions”
- “I felt uncomfortable being asked and felt the timeframe to look over and consider it thoughtfully was too short”
- “I was forced to do it on my phone because I was on shift”
- “I didn’t sign up to be an ambulance officer. This is going to add extra stress and short consultation on risk is embarrassing from the departments end”
This is not consultation. When the issue affects health and safety, this is never acceptable. FBEU and HSRs have rejected the document and the process by which it has been created.
Retained Covid 19 Restrictions lifted
The restrictions put in place for retained firefighters during the pandemic are hereby lifted except for the following:
- Social distancing and infection control procedures are to be maintained
- Covid 19 risk management entry requirements are to remain
- Safety checks are still postponed except with the express permission of the FBEU which will be decided on a case by case basis with local cases of covid 19 being a large contributing factor
Delegate Training – Registrations Open – Again!
The FBEU is relaunching our face-to-face delegate training at the end of July. The training got off to a great start, before COVID19 meant that all face-to-face activity had to be put on hold. We are relaunching a short program to start off and will put in place physical distancing and other strategies to make the training as safe as possible. Numbers will be strictly limited in each training day.
Delegates who attended the two sessions prior to us having to stop them gave the training 4.7 out of 5 stars as being useful, overwhelmingly said they felt more confident in their role as a delegate having done the training and said the best bits were the opportunity to come together, meet each other ans share ideas.
If you have previous registered an interest please do so again. We will be in touch to confirm your day and be in touch with locations well in advance of the day. The training is open for all delegates (and SCOM and Sub Branch Exec) from all parts of the membership.
The initial program is:
Sydney – Tuesday 28 July – Surry Hills
Sydney – Tuesday 4 August – Surry Hills
Blue Mountains – Wednesday 12 August – Location TBC
Sydney – Tuesday 18 August – Surry Hills
Sydney – Tuesday 1 Sept – Surry Hills
Port Macquarie – Wednesday 9 Sept – Location TBC
Sydney – Tuesday 15 Sept – Surry Hills
Illawarra – Wednesday 23 September – Location TBC
We are also more than happy to run additional days where there are enough delegates interested and able to come together. Please get in touch directly with your organiser should you want to help put together a day in your area or on a date that works for you .
Register your interest here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FBEUDelegateTraining and we will be in touch.
Again, I want to welcome our new delegates, I am really encouraged by members who are embracing the idea of being more organised – and I am especially happy to hear all the feedback from members who are beginning to see this work have significant impact and results.
Health and Safety Organising
As previously reported in various SitReps the FBEU is supporting members and HSRs to improve your health and safety systems. We are working with you in this space because:
- Work Health and Safety is union business.
- Your safety is important and you are experts in safety at work.
- Big picture Health and Safety Issues are very important to you.
- The consultation in place from FRNSW is seen by many as entirely inadequate.
- You deserve an organised and active say about safety.
We are, as example:
- Working with and communicating with HSRS and members active in health and safety – to be a part of that register here:https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FBEUWHS
- Negotiating with FRNSW to establish a HSR/WHS overarching state-wide Committee to improve consultation and engagement around health and safety. We have reached in-principle agreement with FRNSW about this – and this is a significant win for all members.
- Supporting members and HSRs to enforce your rights from a WHS perspective – including in matters that effect all members, like new medical work and around specific issues, like the training on new appliances and dangerous disrepair in amenities just as a few examples.
- Keeping a close eye on the WHS perspectives in all policy, decisions and activities initiated by the Department, especially around risk assessments and requirements that must be met by your employer under the Act.
- You deserve an organised and active say about safety.
What can you do?
- Register to be ‘in the loop’ about the FBEU’s support and organising in the WHS space:https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FBEUWHS
- Elections for HSRS will be coming up soon. The FBEU encourages members to make sure you have a HSR for your work group – we will release an information sheet about the elections soon.
- Let your organiser know you are interested in being involved about Health and Safety – organisers will be supporting HSRs to build systems that work for you in this important role.
I am encouraged to see that, following the work of the FBEU and HSRs, the Department seems to now be directly engaging with HSRs to some extent and it’s a great privilege to resource and support you in this space. Your health and safety is union business, and working together we can and will make an important difference in this space. Thanks to all of you who have been active and welcomed our support.
As members in the state’s south may be aware, there is a by-election on Saturday for the Federal seat of Eden-Monaro.
We wanted to remind members of the failure of Scott Morrison’s Liberal Government to support firefighters throughout the summer bushfires, and for a long time prior to that. In September 2017, the Liberal Government dismissed a proposal to fund a national water-bombing fleet, for use at bushfires.
As we all know, these capabilities could have made a major difference in getting the upper hand in the early stages of the major fires that threatened our state, and our members, this summer. It took lives being lost, thousands of properties being destroyed, and millions of hectares of bushland being scorched, for this Government to be dragged to the table to support our efforts.
We know we’re seeing worsening bushfires every year, because a hotter climate is creating longer periods of hot, dry weather. But Scott Morrison’s Government has utterly failed to take this issue seriously, and they still don’t have a plan to make sure Australia does not suffer the same conditions again.
Coalition Governments have always attacked trade unions, whether through Royal Commissions or their Registered Organisations Commission, created to bully unions and attack the work they do to help their members.
We need a government that will stand up for the rights of unions to protect their members wages and conditions, not undermine them and attack them at every turn.
This weekend, we are encouraging our members to put the Liberals last – because it’s where they put you.
Stations in this electorate:
RS1 RS2 RS3
219 Bega 395 Merimbula 218 Batlow 466 Tumbarumba
230 Bombala 398 Narooma 467 Tumut
236 Braidwood 426 Perisher Valley 511 Yass
263 Cooma 428 Queanbeyan
286 Eden 338 Jindabyne
Armidale Driver Training Centre
We have had an influx of members sending in their signed dispute letters asking for the Department to reopen the Armidale Driver Training Centre, and to train those who have missed out and to come to the table to talk about any proposal to move the Centre. This is really encouraging to see, particularly the fact that so many parts of the Brigade have signed on; Trainers, Recruits, Permanent, Retained and Senior Officers. Some of the feedback from our Delegates has been that the deadline provided in the last SitRep of July 2nd isn’t enough time for all members at the station to sign on, accordingly we will be making the deadline 1200hrs on Monday the 6th of July.
FBEU and HSRs this week sat in on a demonstration of the new NIIENM forms process soon-to-be online. The Union support the streamlined approach to reporting report injuries, illnesses, exposures, and near misses. We look forward to working with HSRs and members to ensure the process is as good as it can be.
You can download a copy of this SitRep here.