As reported in our last update, our Award application was subject to a day of conciliation at the end of May followed by three days of arbitration.
During conciliation, we spent time further negotiating aspects of our claim being agreed to, and where no agreement was reached, we pressed other parts of our claim through the arbitration process with the understanding that the remainder would be taken “offline” for further negotiation. This was done because FRNSW had either given an in principle agreement or aspects of the claim had formed part of separate disputes we had pursued since the Award application in February 2021.
The following items were taken offline:
A recall system that will fairly and transparently share relief duties for Retained staff
A Retained to Permanent pathway (we are currently looking at having 20% of each general intake set aside for existing Retained staff)
Reform of the Retained ranking structure
Maintaining the role of Engine Keeper
HAZMAT & Rescue allowances for Retained
Higher duties for Retained
Payments for members when clause 29 deployment is cancelled with little to no notice
Country Relief definition
Ops support positions quarantined for injured members
Revising the Commissioner’s ability to veto Training Review Committee recommendations
We had the first meeting of these further negotiations with FRNSW on 25 June 2021 where the discussions were positive and both parties agreed to share further details and information so that each item can be progressed.
To be clear, we have not abandoned any aspect of our claim. Once agreement is reached on these matters then both the FBEU and FRNSW can make an application to vary the existing Award to reflect this and if agreement is not reached, we can either return to the NSW IRC for assistance or look forward to the 2022 Award round.
In that same SitRep, we also reported that FRNSW had announced its intention to conduct an audit of the 24 hour roster system.
We immediately questioned the need for such a review and FRNSW’s intentions – exactly what do they want to achieve here? FRNSW have failed to address our concerns and instead have released their own terms of reference for a working party as well as a survey that they are expecting you to participate in.
We wrote to FRNSW yesterday seeking genuine consultation on this important issue and invited FRNSW to address our concerns at the next SCOM meeting later this month. You can read the letter here, and we look forward to their response.
In the meantime,members are instructed to not fill out the survey.
HSR Briefings Back On
The safety of firefighters in the workplace remains a key focus of our Union. We will continue to work with your elected HSRs to ensure that FRNSW are held to account and are meeting their obligations.
Monthly HSR Briefings will re-commence next week. All HSRs should have been emailed the details this afternoon so please keep an eye out for that but if you didn’t receive an email, please contact the Union Office so we can ensure you’re on that list.
Lastly, I apologise that today’s SitRep has come out later than usual. We were hoping to have an update on COVID-19 instructions but that work is ongoing, it’s something that needs to be gotten right especially in light of the ways things are progressing, so there will be a further SitRep to come shortly.
I hope you and your families are doing well and staying safe.