UFUSA President Chas Thomas and I met with the Minister for Emergency Services Vincent Tarzia last Monday to discuss our concern at the government’s failure to negotiate on the lack of appropriate resourcing of the MFS.
In recent weeks there have been no spare appliances available, some members have told us they have received confirmation this week that they will not have BOPS fitted this season and appliances have been identified which are just not fit for purpose.
It is a breach of good faith bargaining to simply refuse to negotiate on a matter tabled in an EA and the Minister was advised that this has led to a breakdown of the EA negotiations. We explained to him that members do not have unreasonable expectations, but we are resolved to vigorously pursue our claim for resourcing to do our job of protecting the community in a safe and professional manner.
We are not encouraged by the Minister’s response.
A meeting of UFUSA Shop Stewards and State Councillors is scheduled for Wednesday, 28 October 2020 at the union office to hear an update report and to consider recommendations for actions in our EA campaign.
MORE THAN TWO MFS T-SHIRTS PER ANNUM PLEASE
Further to the MFS communication about T-shirts this week, we took the opportunity yesterday to raise with the Chief Officer and Deputy Chief Officer the concerns expressed by many members about the restriction to the allowance of 2 MFS T-shirts per year.
We have been assured by the CO and DCO that the provision of T-shirts is based on “fair wear and tear” and if you need more than 2 MFS T-shirts per year you should order them, and they will be provided. That seems like a reasonable response to us but please do let us know how you go with such orders.
BLANKETS AS BOPS
Most members in the Service today were born after the end of the Second World War yet some of our equipment predates that; one example being the grey blanket pictured, which dates back to 1943.
Not only are these blankets still in use in at least in one regional station, it was actually on an appliance (with no BOPS) deployed to last season’s ferocious Cudlee Creek bush fire.
Disappointingly, despite the promise made following the last fire season, no new blankets have yet been provided to the station.
With no BOPS on this station’s appliance, and confirmation received that none are to be fitted to it this fire season, it is unacceptable these thin old blankets may again be all that stand between members and our worst nightmare.
Our union is addressing this matter with the MFS with a view not only that new blankets be provided immediately, but that only appliances fitted with BOPS be deployed to wildfirefighting.
SENIOR FIREFIGHTER LEVEL 2 QUALIFIED
Further to the updates in WordBack Nos 35 and 36, the Chief Officer advised us yesterday that we can expect a response on the MFS intentions in the near future.
We’ll keep you informed of any progress.
PORT PIRIE TRAVEL ALLOWANCE CLAIMS
Since WordBack No 34 of 2020 (here), a number of members have contacted us in relation to potential claims for travel and meal allowances under the Award for their transfers to Port Pirie.
If you fall into this category and you seek the UFUSA’s advice and assistance in pursuing your claim in the Tribunal we are extending the deadline for getting in touch with us to COB Friday 30 October 2020.
Failure to get in touch by this deadline will mean that the UFUSA is no longer able to provide assistance in respect of your claim.
SICK LEAVE ANOMALIES
The UFUSA has continued engaging with the MFS on the MFS “Sick Leave Project” since our last update in WordBack 26/2020 (see here).
The MFS has advised that whilst Workforce Rostering are available to answer enquiries from staff regarding your leave balances, they say the information provided “may not always be accurate”.
This is clearly unacceptable and systems need to be put in place to ensure members can rely on the records made available to you; these must not be subject to later revision for which you are then penalised. We are seeking clarification from the MFS on what steps they are taking to redress this.
The MFS’s current proposal is to require members who they have identified has having taken leave without having sufficient sick leave balance, to take another form of leave or to apply to the Chief Officer for “sick leave in anticipation of the leave accruing”.
We are unaware of any existing policies or procedures in place for members to apply for “sick leave in anticipation of the leave accruing” and so are seeking clarification from the MFS about this.
Finally, you are entitled to be provided with information that substantiates any allegations that leave has been taken where balances are insufficient. The information we have seen provided to some members is inadequate and we are seeking further documentation to substantiate the allegations made.
We confirm that under that the MFS is required under legislation to keep records in respect of all employees, including in respect of sick leave granted, and are required produce a copy of all records to employees upon request, including a copy of all pay slips.
If you are unsure of any MFS allegations that you have taken leave when you don’t have sufficient leave in your balance, do not hesitate to request further information, and if you encounter any difficulties, please contact the union office immediately on 83527211 or by email to email@example.com.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The Union’s AGM will be held on Thursday, 26 November 2020 at 09:30 hours at the UFUSA office 148 South Road Torrensville.
A delicious Christmas lunch will be provided at the conclusion of the meeting.
We look forward to seeing you there!