January 22, 2024
RULE CHANGE UPDATE – SCOM ENDORSES MOTIONS
State Committee of Management met on the weekend and, in accordance with rule 47, and resolved to endorse the motions previously published to members in December 2023.
As advised, these proposed rule changes have been endorsed to provide some much-needed clarification and modernisation to our FBEU based on legal advice. The advice received by the FBEU is that further rule changes will likely be needed at a later date however, it was key that these changes proceeded now, prior to the FBEU upcoming State Committee Elections.
The reason for this is that the key substantive change is to increase the current term of your State Committee from 3 years to 4 years, a change which was absolutely necessary for members to be aware of prior to voting in this election.
This change from 3 to 4-year terms has been endorsed because State Committee believe that this is in the best interests of the membership. This change will not only provide greater stability and opportunity to achieve through the term of SCOM; it aligns our FBEU internal elections with the term of the NSW State Election providing whoever is elected for State Committee the best timing and opportunity to achieve results for the membership.
As proven through the hard work and dedication of members in the 2023 State Election, firefighters have real political capital, and when we flex our muscle voters, and therefore politicians and Governments, listen. Your work in that campaign delivered much-needed reforms and gains in the 2023 Awards and will, with further solidarity and work by the membership, hopefully deliver more in 2024. This change didn’t and couldn’t have happened immediately though. As shown from the experience of the 2023 elections, Governments need time after an election to get up and running and your elected officials, whoever they are, also need that time to push and lobby in the interests of members and to achieve our goals.
The next NSW State Election is due in March 2027. We have ensured through our log of claims that we seek an expiry date for our Awards in line with that but based on the current FBEU rules, we would also be holding internal FBEU elections at that time. This is obviously not only less than ideal but would be extremely disruptive to any Award negotiations and campaigns and would not be in yours, the members, best interests.
This rule change will ensure that whoever is on State Committee has a further 12-month period, following the State Election, to continue to pursue the industrial interests and agenda of the members, with whoever is in Government. This cycle will then continue for future elections.
We note, that in ensuring these changes were put to the members in full transparency prior to our upcoming internal elections there are some issues and typographical mistakes which members have raised where there are still references to triennial terms in other rules. Thank you to the members who have communicated to the office regarding this. We can confirm we have sought further advice, and we understand there is no issue with these minor errors at this time and that the rule changes can proceed with those issues to be resolved at a future time.
The less substantive changes at this time also include:
- An additional clause to allow Annual General Meeting’s to be delayed past October if there is an important reason to do so, a pandemic for example.
- Confirmation and clarification that Leading Station Officers shall remain in their geographical sub-branches rather than being in the Senior Officers sub-branch.
- Updating references to payment by cheque to now include payment by account electronic funds transfers/credit cards.
As a reminder, the formal proposal which was endorsed by State Committee was as follows:
Delete rule 11(1) and insert in lieu:
Each year the Union shall hold an Annual General Meeting at which all financial members of the Union shall be entitled to attend provided that if, taking into account the happening, or likely happening, of a critical event, it is not possible to administratively, and cost effectively, program an Annual General Meeting then the State Committee of Management may determine to hold the Annual General Meeting at a later time.
Delete rule 11(1A) and insert in lieu:
(1A) Subject to sub-rule (1), the Annual General Meeting of the Union shall be held each October at a time, day and place to be decided by the State Committee of Management.
Insert in rule 12(3) the word ‘Leading’ immediately prior to the words ‘Station Officer’.
Insert in rule 12(4) the word ‘Leading’ immediately prior to the words ‘Station Officer’.
Delete rule 19(9)(ii) and insert in lieu:
‘(ii) where the amount exceeds $200 the State Secretary shall pay the same in accordance with Rule 30(4).’
In rule 23(1) the word ‘three’ be deleted and insert in lieu the word ‘four’.
Delete rule 30(4) and insert in lieu:
(4) All payments from the Union fund, including by way of cash, cheque and electronic funds transfer, must be authorised by any two of the persons occupying the offices of President, Senior Vice President, Junior Vice President or State Secretary provided that:
(a) where prior authorisation by resolution of the State Committee of Management for the payment of regular or scheduled working expenses exists; and
(b) where payment by credit card is the most practicable or sole means of making payment, then payment may be made by credit card provided that all credit card payments are presented to the next meeting of the State Committee of Management for review.
In rule 51(9) the word ‘three’ be deleted and insert in lieu the word ‘four’.
And therefore, the State Secretary is directed to promptly, and in accordance with the rules, make application for the amendment of the rules of the Union.
We will continue to update members on this ongoing project regarding the FBEU as we progress.