As we embark on the strict six-day lockdown, it’s good news that South Australia has reported no new coronavirus cases today, from the 12,000 tests conducted across the state. But there is no room for complacency as what we do for the next six days will determine if we are able to successfully stare down the threat posed by this outbreak of COVID-19.
If you are one of the few who has not yet caught up with the restrictions which came into force from midnight Wednesday, 18 November 2020, you can click here for the detail.
So it’s a pretty intensive regime for the next 6 days with schools and most businesses closed across South Australia. Residents must stay home, except for one person leaving their house once a day for essential shopping such as groceries.
It is hoped that the pause in most community activity will significantly reduce the risk of the virus spreading further. It could also prevent the need for a much longer Victorian-style shutdown. Fingers crossed.
It was heartening to see the head of the MFS task force immediately after the announcement of the lockdown, taking a responsible and proactive approach to reinstating measures aimed at reducing the risk to UFU members and to the community such as the announcement of the return to the “bubbles”.The UFU was consulted and we supported the measures in the same cooperative manner we demonstrated throughout 2020 in relation to the pandemic.
It was concerning however to hear that it was proposed that MFS training courses currently underway would continue and they did.(Recruit squad and SO to Commander Development) It was a mystery to us how the criteria for an exemption was met but the Acting CO said the MFS had exemptions provided to him by the SAPOL Commissioner and SA Health would follow.
Closer inquiry revealed that the MFS did not receive exemptions for the training. Accordingly the courses have now been “paused” and will resume at the earliest possible time. The disappointment of the training department and the course participants is understandable but the health, safety and well-being of all those involved as well as the wider community, must always be the paramount consideration.As we are sure MFS management will agree.
RESOURCING CAMPAIGN UPDATE
Your UFUSA State Council held a Zoom meeting at 2030 hours last night to consider the impact on our campaign of the lockdown due to commence at midnight.
It was determined that:
Active public campaigning including public drilling would neither be viable or advisable during the lockdown, so it was agreed this action be suspended until further notice.
Due to uncertainty re the COVID restrictions, Stage Three, including the Work to Rule –Adherence to Shift Times will NOT now proceed on 24 November but will be suspended until further notice.
The COVID Restrictions may mean the re-scheduling of the Public Rally planned for 3 December and members will be kept informed as events unfold.
The distribution of campaign materials will be delayed by the lockdown however printing and distribution will be recommenced ASAP.
The following actions and bans from Resourcing Campaign Stage One remain ONGOING:
Suspension of the daily work routine
Fire Alarm Reporting
Do not submit Automatic fire alarm details into AIIRS
Operational members: first day shift will wear the UFU t-shirt for the full shift, in and off station.
“T Shirt Tuesday” for day workers who can wear the union T-shirt all day; optional when working from home!
Members employed in Retained Stations are encouraged to wear the union T-shirt on training nights, even if just on zoom.Please note: Shirts are NOT required over top of T-shirts.
STAGE TWO ACT-UP BAN
Our Resourcing Campaign ramped up with Stage Two which commenced on Monday, 16 November 2020. In addition to the actions, bans and limitations of Stage One, a ban on operational on-shift act ups was introduced.
State Council determined that this ban will continue in force together with the Stage One actions until further notice.
The MFS had argued that the Act-Up ban be lifted and in a spirit of conciliation, the UFU agreed to review this in return for management re-considering its action in the early dissolution of the SO cab rank and to consult on the SFQ level II process, as a show of good faith.
Disappointingly and with the lack of forethought, the answer came back “Not Negotiable”.
Subsequently it is reported that the acting DCO instructed UFU members in the Commander rank to seek that Senior Firefighters defy the ban and act up. The instruction was subsequently rescinded with the benefit of wiser counsel, thus avoiding great distress for those targeted and an escalation of the dispute.
State Council made the determination to continue the selected campaign actions above based on the critical need to address MFS resourcing.
Just as the additional 54 positions the union won in our last EA have benefited the Service, so too will the additional resourcing and asset management planning into the future, upon which our campaign is focused.
Nevertheless there is clearly an element of management deeply unhappy with our union and our campaign who are prepared to foment division and distress. Equally there are those potentially involved who reject this behaviour.
It should be anticipated that the actions of those who range themselves against us will be repeated.Should you or another member receive a request or instruction from management to take an action contrary to the industrial campaign actions, you are advised to respectfully decline, and the union will support you in this action.
The UFUSA reminds members that the MFS is prohibited from discriminating against any employee for participating in the UFUSA’s current industrial action. This means if your chain of command requires you to do something that has been banned or limited by the UFUSA or penalises you in some other way in the carrying out of your duties, the MFS may be liable for a fine of up to $20,000.
The UFUSA does not seek such confrontation however we stand ready to meet the challenge.
Congratulations to all on your strong support for your claim for the necessary resourcing of appliances, equipment, support and training necessary to protect the community in a safe and professional manner into the future.
DUTY CAMPAIGN STATE COUNCIL CONTACTS
State Councillors have kindly agreed to be “duty officers” to assist members with any queries or problems in relation to the actions, bans and limitations of the campaign.Contact details are as follows:
|Michael Riggs||0400 211 325|
|Matt Watherston||0400 211 325|
|Gideon Douglas||0438 332 781|
|Brad Robertson||0433 469 565|
|Greg Chivers||0418 824 706|
|Tim Maitland||0457 749 159|
- Campaign materials will now be finalised and distributed in the period following the lockdown.
- Social media is being embraced by our union for the first time in such a campaign and if you wish, it would be great if you can follow us on Facebook here and encourage your family and friends to do so too.
- Thank you to all of you who have forwarded photographs and videos illustrating the resourcing concerns; please keep them coming!
UFUSA OFFICE CLOSURE
Please note that the UFUSA Office is currently closed due to the COVID lockdown however we are endeavouring to continue to advocate on your behalf and to address your issues remotely. Thank you for your patience and understanding in this challenging time.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The Union’s AGM is scheduled to beheld onThursday, 26 November 2020 at 09:30 hours at the UFUSA office 148 South Road Torrensville. The COVID restrictions are being monitored to determined what arrangements will be required to be made and members will be kept informed in coming days regarding whether, where and in what form the meeting may proceed.