CUT TO REAL WAGES OF FIREFIGHTERS

EA Offer Cut

I regret to advise you of the news received yesterday, that despite earlier promising discussions, our bid to achieve an increase in the pay offer to MFS firefighters from the earlier offer of 2.5% per annum, has been rejected. See Wordback No 23/2022 for detail of offer.

Members may recall that following our 16 August 2022 delegation on the matter to the government, we were asked to be patient while the concerns and matters we raised in support of a fair wage increase were considered, discussed and a response formulated by the employer.

Not only did our patience go unrewarded, but from the difficulty experienced in obtaining the promised response, as politicians were leaving or already away on their overseas trips, it seems firefighters are not a priority.

Insult was added to injury with the apparent lack of any consideration given to the substantial rationale provided by our union for fair wage increases, including the expansion in recent years of the scope of work performed by firefighters and the consequent increased productivity of the MFS. No response on this was forthcoming, nor any reason given as to why not.

I’m grateful to Chas Thomas, Matt Watherston, Andy Caire, Dan Farmer, and Rachel Eisen who participated with me on the UFUSA negotiating team at the meeting yesterday afternoon. Despite all our close questioning, our requests for an explanation of the employer’s position were simply denied.

This despite the provisions of the Fair Work Act 1994 particularly section 76A which requires the parties to negotiations to use their best endeavours to resolve questions in issue between them by agreement, including stating and explaining their position on the questions at issue to all other parties to the negotiations and disclosing relevant and necessary information, and acting openly and honestly. When tasked with these requirements, the employer representatives yesterday just asserted, (despite all the evidence to the contrary), that they are not in breach of the Act…

Our Union has sought that the employer’s position be provided in writing in order that we can provide it to members and consider it collectively. A meeting of State Council and Shop Stewards is being convened for 11:00 hours on 19 October 2022 at the UFU office to consider the matter.

Meanwhile as the cost of living continues to skyrocket,UFU members and our families are hurting as our wage buys less and less. As detailed in Wordback No 23/2022, every dollar less in the offer than the cost of living (CPI) represents a wage cut for firefighters; those cuts compound every year they occur, with real wage value likely to never be recovered.

Current reportage indicates that the 2022 CPI is now heading towards 8% with workers around the country, including firefighters in other states, starting to mobilise to achieve fairer wages. I believe we must continue our efforts to seek wage justice and will be recommending a campaign of action with our best outcomes achieved through our unity and our resolution. As ever, the decision is yours.

Thank you to those members of C shift in town on Friday who gathered to discuss these matters and demonstrated a good grasp of the issues involved as well as coming up with helpful feedback and some innovative campaigning ideas.

Please do keep the ideas coming and let me know if you’d like a Station visit to discuss these important matters. In the meantime, please do talk and continue to provide feedback to your Shop Stewards and State Councillors.

MEMBERS MEETING ON SUPERANNUATION

A union meeting to discuss superannuation with Fund Manager Darren Royals is scheduled to be held at 09:30 hours on 19 October 2022 at UFUSA office, 148 South Road Torrensville with morning tea provided.

To assist with catering please RSVP to info@ufusa.com.au with the heading Superannuation Meeting if you would like to attend and you can also send us your questions in advance should you wish to do so.

This meeting will be immediately followed at 11:00 hours by the meeting of Shop Stewards and State Councillors on wages.

In solidarity,

CUT TO REAL WAGES OF FIREFIGHTERS

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United Fire Fighters Union Of South Australia - UFUSA

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