The EA offer to SAMFS firefighters from the government and the MFS goes to ballot this week, commencing tomorrow, Monday, 21 February 2022 and all UFUSA members are urged to participate in the vote to decide upon acceptance or rejection of the offer.
As previously reported, our State Council And Shop Stewards have unanimously described the employer’s offer as “offensive” to firefighters however it was determined that members should have the opportunity to vote on it. See Wordback No 02/2022 including the unanimous resolution State Councillors and Shop Stewards of 31/1:
“This meeting of UFU State Councillors and Shop Stewards condemns the Marshall government for its failure to negotiate in good faith on our Enterprise Agreement and Safety and Resourcing claims for over 2 years and for making a last-minute offer which is offensive to firefighters, and which is not endorsed by this meeting. Due to our strong commitment to our membership and the democratic process, we nevertheless resolve that the matter be put to ballot for determination.”
Concerns expressed by that meeting about the employer’s offer were not solely focused on the dismal quantum of 1.5%pa which delivers a real pay cut when CPI is running at 3.5% and the cost of living is predicted to escalate even higher over the proposed life of the enterprise agreement.
Nor were the concerns expressed only about the extended period we have gone without a pay increase and the cynical lack of backpay to 1 January 2021, but importantly the offer’s failure to address any of the many concerns raised in our 2019 log of claims, matters which directly affect firefighters right across both metropolitan and regional operations. The opportunity to review the promotions procedures within the MFS is welcomed however apart from this and the pay offer, the firefighter conditions contained in the EA do not vary nor is there any agreement from the employer to correct any errors.
All Members should by now have received the MFS email from the employer distributed to employees on Thursday, 17 February 2022, with information about the pay offer and voting instructions. If you have not received this information you are advised to please contact Assistant Chief Fire Officer Peter Button immediately.
CiVS is an independent voting service which is contracted by the employer to facilitate an electronic ballot on the Enterprise Agreement through using either an online OR SMS ballot that will commence on Monday 21 February 2022 at 9:00am and close Monday 28 February 2022 at 5.00pm. Employees are only eligible to vote once using either the SMS or online ballot method.
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. Your vote is CONFIDENTIAL.
If you or your colleagues do not receive your invitation to participate in the ballot at 09:00 hours tomorrow morning Monday, 21 February 2022, 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.
Any 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 as a priority.
Members have been advised by the employer that for information regarding the content of the agreement to please contact your Human Resources branch. As most members advise us of the frustration of trying to speak to anyone through that avenue, please don’t hesitate to give our office, your State Councillor or Shop Steward a call. And if you haven’t yet had a workplace or shift meeting to discuss the employer’s offer and you would like this organised, it’s not too late but please speak ASAP to your local Shop Steward or State Councillor.
SAFETY AND RESOURCING
It was heartening to see members earnestly taking the opportunity to speak directly and respectfully to Minister Tarzia last week at St Mary’s Station about our safety and resourcing concerns and our disappointment at the failure of the Marshall government throughout its term of government to seriously engage with firefighters on these critical issues.
It’s regrettable but not surprising that his responses were about his failure to address issues of concern due to the length of time he’s been a Minister and that the lousy pay offer is not his area of responsibility but Treasury’s… Perhaps he’s another whose “hands are tied”?
It appears however that the Minister has reflected on his poor showing and perhaps conscious of the state election looming, he sent correspondence to the UFU late on Friday 18/2, making belated statements such as “…over the next ten years the MFS is prioritising replacement of St Mary’s, Whyalla and Kadina stations, as well as the marine fire vessel.”
Firies will always welcome resourcing however as these important projects have long been ‘prioritised’ in MFS documentation, we surely can’t be blamed for not holding our collective breath. Nor for our cynicism about the “smoke and mirrors” of this government. Members are reminded of your right, endorsed by the SAFECOM Board, to continue to respectfully abstain from being photographed with the Minister or indeed any other politicians while you are on duty, should you wish to do so.
Meanwhile please join us outside Mr Marshall’s office this week to highlight firefighters’ concerns:
When: Thursday 24 February 2022 10:00 hours
Where: At the State Administration Centre, 200 Victoria Square / Tarntanyangga, Adelaide.
(*This is in the North East corner of the Square. Covid arrangements will be in place)
Wear UFU T-shirt and mask if possible. If you would like to give support and help out in this campaign, please contact email@example.com or speak to your local Shop Steward or State Councillor.
Now is the time for firefighters to continue to raise our voices if we are to achieve sustainable change.