EA BALLOT TO COMMENCE FRIDAY, 2 DECEMBER 2022

EA Ballot 2022

After three years of bargaining and campaigning, the revised government proposals for the new SAMFS Firefighters EA (Enterprise Agreement) will be put to ballot later this week. This will be your opportunity to have a say on whether you accept or reject their offer?

We have been working hard over the last four years to make sure the UFUSA is your union, with decision making based on participatory democracy. This means that not only do you as members have a say by voting, but you also actively participate in your Union’s discussions, decisions, and actions.

This is essential if firefighters are to have and retain, a strong and powerful union, respectful of diversity and differences of views, actively building our solidarity and strength for success.

We are very fortunate to have a strong network of Shop Stewards who together with your State Councillors, represent you on the ground and have been your voice at many meetings over the last three years.

Our Shop Stewards and State Council discussions have been critical in directing our union’s approach to bargaining and making sure your voice has been heard.

Importantly members have indeed stepped up magnificently at every stage, from responding to surveys which developed and prioritised our log of claims in 2019, to participation in public rallies and protests, erecting signage at stations, engaging in social media activities and industrial campaigning, as well as staring down the bosses whenever needed, including overwhelmingly rejecting the offensive 1.5% pa offer earlier this year.

That collective action has achieved great outcomes in a range of significant claims you said are important to you collectively, as union members and as professional firefighters.

We now urge all members to be engaged in the current process through discussion of the new wage offer and the proposed EA with your crew and colleagues, and by ensuring you all vote in the EA ballot process. Your Shop Steward can lead discussions and provide more information to members. If you have questions please get your Stop Steward to email us at info@ufusa.com.au and we will get back to you with responses as quickly as possible.

So, what has been going on?

Since your State Council and Shop Stewards agreed to put the latest proposal to ballot, there has been a flurry of activity to ensure that we can ballot members as soon as possible. Your Industrial Officers have over the past few weeks been working hard with the industrial relations branch of the Attorney General’s Department (IRAP) and SAMFS, to prepare an EA document for you to consider and vote on.

If accepted by our membership, this document will be the basis of your industrial conditions for the next two years, so this is a very important matter. The collaborative approach adopted by the parties to finalise the proposal has been heartening. It has been intensive time as the wording was nutted out, disagreeing on some things and finalising what can be agreed, quickly and efficiently.

The Ballot

The ballot which will again be conducted electronically, is scheduled to commence on 2 December 2022, staying open for 10 days in order that all members will have the opportunity to have a say. As previously, you will be able to vote on your phone or online.

A majority vote is required to determine the matter.

If the offer is accepted, the draft EA will be immediately lodged with the SA Employment Tribunal for certification. If rejected, the offer will be off the table, and we return to negotiations.

You should receive an email shortly from the SAMFS advising all the details of the ballot and providing information on the employer’s proposals. Relevant ballot information has been uploaded to the EB webpage and should be accessible to all members. The SAMFS has posted correspondence to MFS staff on leave, providing them with advice about the ballot however in a belt and braces approach, please do make sure any other members on leave are aware that the ballot will commence this Friday.

What’s the gist of it?

The offer that we are considering is better than previous offers and this is reflective of the above mentioned UFUSA member solidarity and action. You will see the improvements won, and what is still to be achieved. We encourage you to carefully read through the proposed EA document and supporting information, so that you are properly informed when it comes time to cast your vote.

In short,

  • The agreement is for two years starting 1 January 2023 and ending 1 January 2025.
  • There is a One-Off Payment of $1500 for full time and pro rata for part time
  • By the end of the agreement, salaries will have increased by approximately 14.8 %
  • The offer includes back pay to 1 January 2021 as demanded by members.
  • Drill Coordinator and Relieving Officer Allowance increases to $1.72 per hour.
  • Port Pirie Senior Firefighter Allowance increased to $5.10 per hour
  • There is a new Senior Firefighter level 2 Qualified.
  • The Retained Firefighter’s annual retainer will increase in line with salary increases
  • There are a number of reviews including Fire Cause Investigation, Regional Operations, Promotions Processes, and the ERV Gallantry (Marine)

Actions

  1. Shop Stewards to facilitate discussion with members and to ensure that enterprise bargaining materials are available.
  2. All members to be respectful of the opinions of others and to vote in the ballot.
  3. Shop Stewards to forward members’ questions to the UFU via info@ufusa.com.au

Just by reading this Wordback you are taking part in your union and making a difference, thank you. Whatever our contribution, together we do make a difference.

In solidarity,

EA BALLOT TO COMMENCE FRIDAY, 2 DECEMBER 2022

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