COVID PANDEMIC LOCKDOWN UPDATE

UFUSA Covid19 Lockdown

Throughout the pandemic crises in 2020 our union worked closely, even collaboratively with MFS management in the interests of members’ health and safety and that of the broader community. It is our union’s intention is to try to continue on that path in 2021. 

It is a simple fact that we are best placed to do this where the employer representatives are cognisant of the legislative requirements involved, not least that of communication and consultation. Hopefully, it is also understood and accepted that this is where the best outcomes are generally achieved. 

Discussions in the last 24 hours with MFS management resulted in agreement to work together consultatively and a process was reinstated between your employer and your union, to communicate and consult before decisions are taken in relation to the current Covid lockdown. 

Hopefully, this agreement will assist management to avoid future confusion about the need to think about and incorporate directions from SA Health in MFS’ All Staff Emails about the pandemic. We also hope that the “continual vigilance” sought in the last MFS email, will be exercised by those issuing directions, not just those to whom they are issued. 

For example, in circumstances where our community is in lockdown, it behoves the MFS as an emergency service, to act responsibly, provide leadership and keep the workforce and the community it protects, as safe as possible. Of course vigilance is required of us all and in the current circumstances, that vigilance includes doing all we can on a personal and collective basis, to stay safe and to keep others safe. As we know, our community is now in lockdown for 7 days with a ban on non-essential travel. This is for the common good of health and safety to slow the prevention of the virus, and must be applied within the MFS as well, other than for fire and rescue emergencies. 

UFUSA Covid19

You may recall that the employer likes to remind employees of our obligation to use safe practices – like not putting a sticker on our helmets – so clearly we agree that safe practices are very important, and of course there are legislative requirements for safe practice. 

By definition safe practice includes the critical duty of the employer to ensure that no directive is issued to an employee or employees, which compromises safety through escalated and unnecessary risk. Any threat of disciplinary action where an unlawful directive is given and declined in good faith, is bluster and is likely to firmly rebound on those conveying such a message. 

In these challenging times, it is especially important that members decline to accept a directive which you believe compromises health and safety, or to communicate such a directive. Members are urged to contact our union immediately should such a situation arise. 

Meanwhile, our union will continue to seek to be involved in meaningful consultation, as we did in 2020. After all, what’s changed? 

COVID 19 – UNION OFFICE CLOSURE 

The UFUSA Office has been directed to close and has done so from 18:00 hours 20 July 2021. This will extend for the seven-day lockdown unless the matter is reviewed, and alternative directions given in the meantime. Union staff are working from home wherever possible during the lockdown. 

For your information, unions in SA have applied to the state government for exemption as essential workers, however no response has been received to date. 

I regret that a number of scheduled UFUSA activities have had to be postponed including the WHSR meeting which will be rescheduled ASAP. The next State Council meeting will be held on Thursday, 12 August 2021 at 09:30 hours at the UFU office. 

Where industrial issues arise during the lockdown, members are encouraged to speak to UFUSA Shop Stewards in the first instance and State Councillors also stand ready to assist. 

Some direct contact details should you need them for an urgent matter, are as follows: 

Max Adlammaxa@ufusa.com.au0407 390 399
Chas Thomaschas.thomas@ufusa.com.au0413 002 656
Andy Caireandrew.caire@sa.gov.au0421 578 196
Matt Watherstonmatthew.watherston@sa.gov.au0414 600 045
Chris Barrychristopher.barry@sa.gov.au0417 885 538
Paul Gunnerprojectofficer@ufusa.com.au0427 065 315 
Paul Caicapaul.caica@outlook.com0417 808 148
Les Birchles@ufusa.com.au0411 744 610
Rachel Eisenindustrial@ufusa.com.au0400 001 289

Meantime, please take great care of you and yours. 

In solidarity

COVID PANDEMIC LOCKDOWN UPDATE

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United Fire Fighters Union Of South Australia - UFUSA

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