February 26, 2021
- Award Update
- 8 Hour Break For Recalls
- COVID-19 Vaccinations
- Call and Dispatch Review Missing
- Health and Safety
- State of the Stations Audits
- FBEU State Committee Elections
- Oran Park’s Missing Fire Station
As indicated in SitRep 7/2021, this week we filed an application in the Industrial Relations Commission for both the Retained and Permanent Awards requesting a 2.5% pay increase as well as incorporating the log of claims endorsed by the membership last year.
Your employer also filed an award application for a 0.3% pay increase in line with last year’s public sector wages case.
The appeal to that wages case run by the large public sector unions will be heard on 24 March 2021 and it is unlikely that the IRC will hear our matter before a decision on the appeal is handed down. Despite the lack of success in the original case, we believe there is merit in us pursuing a wages case.
Our claim for the full 2.5% pay increase is on the basis that the majority of our funding comes from the insurance industry not the NSW Government. A fair pay increase for firefighters will not be detrimental to the Government but in fact, withholding our pay increase will be a windfall for insurance companies.
We’ll be in the IRC with your employer on 3 March 2021 for a directions hearing. Once we have a timeline for the IRC, we plan to hold Special General Meetings. This process has been member led from the start and while we have had to go down a different route than in previous award rounds, that is, pursuing a wages case, ensuring your continued involvement in how we progress is a priority.
8 Hour Break For Recalls
A member was recently back paid after FRNSW initially failed to pay the appropriate rates for performing recalls without eight hour breaks in between shifts.
Per 9.10.1 of the Permanent Award, firefighters are to be paid double time for a whole shift when they commence work without having had an eight hour break in between shifts.
We are asking for any other members who have worked without an 8 hour break to check their payslips to make sure they were paid correctly at double time. If not, speak to your delegate or the Union Office.
Breaches of the Award are never acceptable.
The FBEU welcomes the start of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. All members who are able to are encouraged to get the vaccine as soon as it is available to them.
The rollout will take some time so it is essential that all workers, especially those in emergency services jobs like ours, continue to be kept safe in their workplaces by social distancing, strict hygiene practices, and other procedures that have helped save so many lives over the past year.
While we recommend all members are vaccinated as soon as possible, we recognise and respect that medical decisions are an individual choice. We are not aware of any intention of making the vaccine mandatory for firefighters. These decisions should continue to be made by public health experts and supported by Public Health Orders.
Call and Dispatch Review Missing
After the Keelty Review into the Tathra bushfire, a review of call and dispatch was commissioned by the Board of Emergency Services Commissioners in 2018. A company called Noetic gathered data and FRNSW, RFS and the FBEU, amongst others, were interviewed. Findings of this review have yet to be released.
Late last year the Hon. Mark Buttigieg MLC tabled Standing Order 52 (a call for papers) in the NSW upper house but only emails of invoices for the report and other unimportant information were handed over. The Government has not delivered the actual report to Parliament.
Last week Mr Buttigieg tabled a motion to be debated in March and the Parliamentary Clerk has also asked for a ‘please explain’. We will update members when more information comes to hand but we hope that this report has not gone the way of other Government documents recently – in the shredder.
Health and Safety
The FBEU continues to support HSRs in their efforts and roles as elected representatives in each of your work groups and across the state. If you need support in your role or have questions, get in touch with your organiser.
The Health and Safety Committee will hold its second meeting next week. FBEU senior organiser Emily Mayo is supporting the Chairs and members of the committee group. The HSRs on the state-wide committee are working hard to improve systems and culture around safety matters. Safety is union business.
State of the Stations Audits
We are just about to hit 100 audits from stations far and wide. An incredible start. Check in with your delegate to see that your audit has been done. If you don’t have a delegate, speak with the organising team to make a plan to get your audit in. We need one from every station.
Max Murphy – Regional West, Metro West, MS3 – email@example.com 0408 617 217
Georgie Slater – Metro North, Regional North, ME3 – firstname.lastname@example.org 0417 924 151
Jonathon Wright – Metro South (excl. MS3), Regional South, ME1 and ME2 – email@example.com 0419 753 305
This audit will allow us to build campaigns and activities to improve the state of your station and all stations.
FBEU State Committee Elections
The notice for the 2021 election of the FBEU State Committee of Management went out earlier this week and nominations are now open. You can find the notice, nomination form and election timetable all here.
Any enquiries concerning this election should be directed to Andrea Jackson at the NSW Electoral Commission, on telephone (02) 9290 5960 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Union Office is also able to assist with updating your address or getting a nomination form.
Oran Park’s Missing Fire Station
It was fantastic to see so many members out in Oran Park yesterday, part of ongoing pressure being applied to the NSW Government for failing to deliver on its promise of a new fire station. We were joined by community members and opposition MPs in a strong show of support for more resources in the area’s overstretched fire service. You can watch the segment from last night’s 9 News here.
You can download this SitRep here.