FBEU and FRNSW were due to return to the IRC on Monday for further conciliation regarding new Permanent, Retained and D&D Awards. Unfortunately, the IRC had to cancel the listing as the Commissioner was unavailable. The parties are now re-listed for 21 July.
FRNSW have put forward an updated draft consultation clause which the FBEU is considering. FRNSW continue however a push to implement a trial of their proposed PAD program in select Permanent stations and to reject entirely reasonable FBEU claims such as seeking time limits requiring FRNSW to respond to disputes in a timely manner.
In the meantime, the FBEU’s Industrial Action Committee is holding its first meeting on Monday to map out a planned way forward for the implementation of Industrial Action if we can’t reach agreement with FRNSW. It is vital that we have Member input and engagement on these key matters. We thank those who stuck their hand up. We will keep Members updated on the Committee’s progress.
FRNSW Agrees to Pause Terminations and Consult with the FBEU on Covid-19 Risk Assessment
After the FBEU filed our material in the IRC yesterday for our urgent dispute regarding FRNSW’s failure to consult over the revised COVID-19 Risk Assessment, FRNSW solicitors contacted FBEU representatives proposing a settlement to resolve the matter.
The terms of the settlement fully vindicate the position we took in the dispute with FRNSW agreeing to return to the table and properly consult over the updated Risk Assessments and current COVID environment. They have also agreed to the meet with the Occupational Hygienist put forward by the FBEU and HSRs. Dr Esterman is a Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiologist at the University of South Australia and provided advice to the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service regarding their COVID approach and vaccine mandate. This meeting will now occur on Friday.
FRNSW have also agreed that they will pause any proposed terminations of employees based on non-compliance status pending the completion of consultation.
This pause does not apply to the disciplinary process itself which some Members are currently subject too, however for Members who have elected the FBEU to act as their representative we will continue to represent you through the process.
This settlement by FRNSW is a complete reversal of the position they took last week when they moved to commence terminations of employees, refused to engage in further consultation, and published the Risk Assessment without involvement with our recommended Subject Matter Expert.
We are disappointed that it took the FBEU filing urgent legal proceedings to achieve this entirely reasonable outcome. Nonetheless, we will get back to the table and continue to engage with FRNSW regarding COVID safety measures appropriate for the current context.