Sitrep 14/2023 : Industrial Campaign: Let’s Fix our Fire Service

March 22, 2023

Award Update – It’s Time for Members to Show Your Support for the Fix Our Fire Service Industrial Campaign

As per our previous update on Award negotiations, yesterday the FBEU and FRNSW spent several hours in conciliation before the IRC to discuss the Awards.

With the assistance of the Commission we were able to have further discussions around aspects of our claim including the new structure, promotion and progression, station-based and non-station based roles along with other proposed clauses.

In conciliation the Commissioner acknowledged the extensive work by the FBEU to consult with members and to seek to positively engage in real reform to overcome problems that we saw in your workplace. In light of this, it was also strongly suggested that FRNSW take the opportunity to engage in the reform we have proposed through a process of negotiation given that we had come to the table with a comprehensive package of change.

As you know, your Log of Claims for all three Awards real reforms for FRNSW professional firefighters which would:

  • Deliver an enhanced service and staffing model and vital community protection to the people of NSW keeping our fire stations open and properly resourced;
  • Key mechanisms to ensure firefighters are protected and safe at work, particularly from exposures inherent in their work, and illness and injuries such as occupational cancer, PTSI and cardiac events/stroke.; along with
  • Efficiencies and productivity, in particular, a model of staffing, training and promotions which will begin to resolve the huge staffing shortfall across our professional fire service and the associated $100 million overtime bill.
  • Comprehensive and industry appropriate consultation provisions to make sure you, as frontline workers as the people who know your job best, get a say in how its run;
  • Fair wages and conditions of employment to ensure firefighters don’t fall behind when compared to other fire services and emergency services workers and to recognise our qualifications and experience.

You overwhelming endorsed this Log of Claims with 97% voting in favour of the proposed Permanent Award, 99% in favour of the proposed Retained Award and 96% in favour of the proposed D & D Award.

However, with negotiations now moving forward it’s time for you, as members to take action to ensure that your message on the need for reform is heard by FRNSW Senior Management, the Government (whoever they may be) and the Community.

With this in mind we are now calling on all members to escalate our industrial campaign and make sure we send a clear message that we cannot continue to stand by and accept unsafe and unfair terms and conditions of employment. 

The FBEU therefore, effectively immediately hereby instructing all members to commence taking part in the below actions:

  1. Effective immediately members are hereby instructed to immediately cease wearing FRNSW issued duty-wear shirts/T-shirts while performing any work or duties for FRNSW and are instead to wear union and/or industrial campaign t-shirts if you have one.
  2. Effective immediately members are hereby instructed to use washable chalk and/or other removable materials such as banners, posters, flags etc to display Union, industrial and/or campaign related material on FRNSW appliances, vehicles and premises.
  3. Effective immediately members are hereby instructed to not adhere to any direction to remove Union, industrial and/or campaign related materials and slogans from FRNSW premises and vehicles including emergency response vehicles.
  4. Effective immediately all members are hereby instructed to not comply with any policy, order, instruction, direction or any other such communication from FRNSW which restricts your ability to speak freely to members of the public and or on social media regarding issues relating to the fire service and the industrial campaign.
  5. Effective immediately all Senior and Executive Officers are hereby instructed to not participate in any activity which would direct members to not participate in any of these activities or direct them to not comply with a Code Red and/or take any adverse action against an employee for their participation in these Code Reds.
  6. Effective immediately all members are hereby instructed to not participate in any activity that relates to discipline, counselling or any other activity which has an adverse impact on their employment where that activity is in relation to compliance with any Code Reds issued by the FBEU. Members are also instructed to not participate in any activity which would create a record of any other members participation in these code reds.

These items will be issued as Code Reds today however we wish to make clear to all members that if at any timewhile participating in these activities it poses any risk to you, a colleague and/or a member of the community you should immediately cease the activity and contact the FBEU directly for further instruction.

We will be issuing industrial campaign t-shirts to key fire stations over the next coming week or so and, if required, will continue the roll out of t-shirts further if the campaign escalates. If you do not have a campaign t-shirt in the meantime, any FBEU t-shirt can be worn at work in support of this campaign.

In regard to campaign material and the use of liquid chalk etc if your station does not have union and or campaign material which can easily be displayed we encourage you to purchase some liquid chalk and use that to come up with your own messaging which can be written on glass engine bay doors, appliances etc. Be sure to test all liquid chalk on surfaces first – it must be able to be wiped clean. The FBEU will reimburse members who purchase liquid chalk for their station to use we just ask that you send us your contact details, receipt and a picture of what you have put up. You can request reimbursement and upload pictures here.   

Please download and read a further  CODE RED INFO SHEET which provides further explanation on this campaign and also talking points to give you all the key matters you should raise when talking to members of the community about our concerns.

If members have any questions please contact your delegate or SCOM representative in the first instance. If the matter is urgent and you are unable to contact either a SCOM member or Delegate please contact Senior Industrial Officer Rini Krouskos directly on 0499 187 583 or Industrial Officer Giacomo Arnott on 0467 005 578.

A reminder to all members that campaigns such as these are most effective when everyone is on board and participating. If at any time you are concerned that you have been targeted or adversely impacted by FRNSW due to compliance with a Code Red please contact the Union office immediately for assistance.

As stated above, if any member is concerned that any of these activities pose a risk to your own health and safety, the safety of a colleague or member of the community you should immediately stop and contact us immediately via the contacts listed above.

In the meantime, the parties are scheduled for a further meeting in two weeks and then further conciliation before the IRC in a month. Members will continue to be updated as negotiations progress.

In Unity,

Leighton Drury
State Secretary

To download a printable version of this Sitrep, click here.



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