HAVE YOU CAST YOUR VOTE?
All members are urged to participate in the electronic ballot to determine the rejection or acceptance of the employer’s offer. The ballot closes at 17:00 hours tomorrow, so if you haven’t yet cast your vote please do so now.
Everyone employed under the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service Enterprise Agreement 2017 is entitled to vote and should receive a ballot regardless of whether you are on any kind of leave. Confidentiality of your vote is assured.
As previously reported, our State Council and Shop Stewards have unanimously described the employer’s wage offer as “offensive” to firefighters as it falls far below the current cost of living (CPI) increases, both current and predicted. While the offer is not recommended by our union, it was determined that members should have the opportunity to vote on the offer. See Wordback Nos 02 and 07/2022 including the unanimous resolution State Councillors and Shop Stewards of 31/1.
If you have not received your electronic invitation to participate in the ballot, please act immediately by contacting ACFO Peter Button or use the CiVS telephone support which is available Monday – Friday, 11:30am – 7:30pm ACDT on 1300 798 994.
Members experiencing any difficulties in obtaining or registering your vote and not receiving assistance from the employer or support line, should contact your union office on 8352 7211 for assistance urgently.
Whether the offer is rejected or accepted by a majority, the outcome of this ballot will have a strong impact on firefighters in times to come, so it is critical that as many members as possible participate.
DISPUTE RE ALLEGATIONS OF MISCONDUCT
In the first week of February 2022, hundreds of members received correspondence from the MFS Chief Officer with allegations of misconduct in failing to meet requirements of Memorandum 98/2021 and of the intent of the MFS to issue a reprimand.
Despite that correspondence saying that “Employee Relations” had conducted an audit of responses to the memorandum, it has been found that the process was deeply flawed, and a large number of members received the correspondence in “error”. This is been of little comfort to those who got the letter but who had already responded to the memorandum and have met the requirements, those who are/were on leave, and no comfort at all to members absent due to serious work-related injury; as is so often the case, it is reported that Employee Relations has been of little assistance to members who are reaching out to them in an effort to seek clarification, explain their circumstances and resolve the issue.
The UFUSA has notified the MFS of a dispute in relation to the employer’s actions re memo 98; this notification invokes the “Status Quo” provision of the enterprise agreement, meaning that while the parties work to resolve the dispute, no further action should be taken by MFS to pursue individuals for misconduct in this matter.
In the meantime, the deadline set by the MFS in the correspondence for a written response is 17:00 hours tomorrow Monday, 28 February 2022. Members affected are encouraged to still respond in writing if you haven’t yet done so, by the deadline, and to keep a copy of your response. Please do not hesitate to seek advice and to cc our union into your response at firstname.lastname@example.org
It would be remiss to not acknowledge the concern expressed by particular MFS officers who are no doubt appalled by the impact of this blunder on firefighters and who have worked hard to conduct a second audit and to communicate as quickly as possible with those who have received the letters in error.
Our union continues to be firmly committed to the consultative provisions contained within our enterprise agreement and we warmly welcome the opportunity to work with management to resolve this dispute (and all others) to finality and to pave the way for a more positive and proactively consultative relationship in the future.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO AS SAFETY AND RESOURCING CAMPAIGN ESCALATES?
The campaign website is now up and running as we increase our social media presence, which outlines firefighters’ issues, needs, and asks. There is also a letter template on the website which can very quickly and easily be completed to send to your local candidates (put in your postcode and they’ll be identified for you). Or you can write your own personal message. Please also ask all supporters to help too.
Members are also urged to share our social media posts to further raise community awareness and the profile of our campaign to ensure maximum impact.
Together we can make a difference!