Retained Pager Dispute update As noted in Sitrep 59/2021, the FBEU have continued to negotiate with FRNSW concerning this matter.
FRNSW informed us this week that the Commissioner has directed that FRNSW cancel the planned phasing out of mobile phone turnouts, and work on a solution to ensure members continue to receive calls to their phone. This means no more phones will be switched off going forward, and those who had their phones switched off will have them turned back on soon. This outcome is only possible because our members stick together. In particular, I want to thank members who raised the issue directly with Commissioner Baxter on his recent regional tour. We look forward to the FBEU and members being involved in discussions around what happens once the RTAS systems reaches its end of life. We want a system that is sustainable and works for members. FRNSW make good decisions when members are at the table. Let’s hope we see more of this.
FRNSW Vaccination Mandate SafeWork NSW have been in touch today to progress concerns articulated in previous SitReps. The regulator agrees that genuine consultation is a requirement of the WHS Act in these circumstances.
The FBEU have requested intervention in the matter including for the mandate deadline to be pushed-back to allow for a legitimate process to occur. We now await the outcome of SafeWork discussions with FRNSW. We know there are differing views on this issue so to be clear to all members, the FBEU is holding FRNSW to the proper process to which we all know they struggle to do daily. More to follow.
In SitRep 62/2021, I mentioned some anomalies with the Awards that were gazetted by the Industrial Relations Commission. An audit by FBEU staff of the gazetted version against the submitted version uncovered evidence that IRC staff had varied the Awards without the consent of the FBEU or FRNSW. This included 85 changes in the Retained Award and 226 changes in the Permanent Award. To say we are disappointed in the IRC is an understatement. We are concerned that this practice may have been occurring for years and across the entire NSW public sector. We have made our frustrations known to the Chief Commissioner. The IRC is now in the process of uploading the correct Award versions that were agreed to by FBEU and FRNSW. Despite this, the FBEU-won backpay has been processed and went into your 4 November payslips. We have had varying reports that this backpay might help purchase a coffee or two, so when you make those purchases, be sure to thank the NSW Liberal Government for their generous 0.3% pay increase. This 0.3% wage increase is disappointing and reflects the difficulties the public sector is facing with a hostile Government. Our legal Counsel ran a strong case that your work is worth more than a 0.3% increase, but ultimately, we were unsuccessful. As reported on 13 November 2020 in the Award 2021 #2 update, members voted on our log of claims at AGMs. Some of the claims were agreed by FRNSW as outlined in SitRep 48/2021, with the remainder still being negotiated off-line. We are now looking towards the 2022 Award round. We will have more to say on that in the coming weeks and months. You can find a copy of the agreed version of the Permanent Award HERE and the Retained Award HERE. The versions on the FBEU website and the FRNSW intranet will also be updated to this version.
A reminder to all members that the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union Rex Threlfo Annual Toast will be held on Thursday 9th December.