SitRep 23/2021

May 14, 2021

Open Day

Following the Code Red on in-person Open Day activities issued yesterday, FRNSW made an urgent application in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission which we attended this morning.

At the hearing we relayed the concerns that members had communicated to us via their sub-branches. There was a severe lack of planning and communication between FRNSW and the stations as to what Open Day would look like at the station level. Existing COVID plans were too generic and not station specific, presenting a significant safety issue that had yet to be addressed.

This necessitated the action taken by the Union.

The safety of our members is our priority. We similarly expect FRNSW to prioritise the safety of its staff while carrying out their duties.

The agreed position is as follows:

Open Day at the ESA will go ahead as planned thanks to the comprehensive plan already in place as negotiated by the membership. The Museum of Fire was similarly well prepared.

It is at the sole discretion of stations as to whether they go ahead with Open Day.

Station Commanders (Station Officers and Captains) can determine whether the event goes ahead, at what time it starts and finishes, and how it is to run.

Members who do not feel comfortable participating due to concerns related to COVID-19 will be free to do so without any adverse consequences.

Stations that decide to go ahead with Open Day are allowed to seek additional crew from a nearby station which is not participating in Open Day. If additional crew are not available and it is deemed as necessary, then the station should not participate.

While it is at the Station Commander’s discretion, we would strongly recommend that community members are not allowed on appliances or to use the amenities. We instead encourage the use of alternative strategies as a safer means of demonstration.

The Code Red of 13 May 2021 is hereby rescinded, and the above directives are issued in its place.

CAFS Aerial Pumper Dispute

We were also in front of the IRC today to discuss the roll out of the CAFS Aerial Pumper (CAP) with training currently scheduled to begin Monday 17 May 2021. 

We can confirm that training will proceed on this date for 50 Hornsby and 92 St Andrews Station only, followed by an initial review. 

At present, the following has been agreed to by the FBEU and FRNSW;

  • All staff permanently attached to CAFS Aerial Stations to be provided the opportunity to be trained in the safe and effective operation of the CAP, including obtaining the relevant High-Risk Work Licence (this will be provided to any relieving staff attached to the Station where possible and subject to availability). This will include the Station Officer.
  • Minimum staffing of a CAP appliance to be one Station Officer (or acting Station Officer) and three firefighters.

While it is very encouraging to see that Station Officers will be given the relevant competency for these appliances, it is still the view of members that there should be three qualified operators on these appliances. We will continue to hold discussions with FRNSW around this and other aspects of our claim over the next two weeks.

We are due back in the IRC on 28 May 2021 where we will update the Commission on our progress.

Members who are participating in the training from 50 Hornsby and 92 St Andrews are encouraged to provide feedback to their delegate, Health and Safety Representative, and SCOM representative.

The Code Red banning training in the use of these appliances issued in SitRep 19/2021 is hereby rescinded.

Standby vs. Outduty

There has been some confusion regarding the difference between performing Standby versus an Outduty.

Standby – Two things must occur for it to qualify as Standby:

  1. A period of relief performed at one or more stations that are not your base station for no more than 4 hours/8 hours if working 24-hour roster; and
  2. You begin and end your rostered shift at your own base station.

Outduty – Relief beyond the 4 hours/8 hours if on 24s:

  1. A period of relief/standby at another station for more than 4 hours/8 hours if on 24-hour roster; and
  2. Either:
    1. You begin and/or end your rostered shift at your non-base station; or
    2. You both begin and end your rostered shift at your own base station

Please note that:

  • You cannot be required to perform an Outduty outside of your fire district (though you can choose to do so). Look on the Intranet for your station’s fire district map.
  • Both Standby and Outduty attract kilometres if you use your private vehicle.
  • Only Outduty attracts the relieving allowance, Standby does not.

In other words, it can only be Standby if you are directed to another station(s) for less than 4 hours/8 hours if you are on 24 hour shifts total and you both begin and end your normally rostered shift at your own base station.

Please also note that with a Standby:

  • the 4 hour/8 hour if on 24s maximum applies no matter how many different stations you are sent to; and
  • your time does not begin until you start your relief duty at the station you are directed to and does not end until you are relieved. In other words, travel time to/from does not count towards the 4/8 hours.

Example: FF A, who works 24-hour shifts and is based at City of Sydney, arrives at City of Sydney for their normal rostered shift at 0800hrs. At 1000hrs, FF A is directed to perform standby at Pyrmont station. FF A leaves City of Sydney at 1030hrs and arrives at Pyrmont begins their relief duty at 1050hrs. At 1450hrs another reliever shows up and FF A is told they are no longer needed and are then directed to go to do another standby at Balmain. FF A leaves Pyrmont at 1510hrs and arrives at Balmain at 1550hrs where they immediately begin their relief duty.

By the time FF A begins the relief at Balmain at 1550hrs, FF A has already now performed four of the 8 hours (max 8 hours because FF A is on a 24-hour roster) of the maximum time allowed. This means that FF A can only relieve at Balmain for 4 more hours (3 hours and 59 minutes to be exact) or else it becomes an Outduty (after 8 hours).

Members are only required to perform 12 Outduties per year. For members on 24-hour rosters, each Outduty performed counts as TWO Outduties, meaning members on 24-house rosters technically only need to complete 6 Outduties per year.

Good luck, Anastasia!

Today, we say goodbye to Senior Industrial Officer Anastasia Polites who has chosen to pursue a career outside the union movement and spend more time with family. We sincerely thank Ana for her contributions to the FBEU and its members and wish her all the best for the future.

In Unity,

Shane Kennedy

State Secretary

You can download this SitRep here.



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