ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT (EA) UPDATE

UFUSA Enterprise Agreement

 The next meeting for negotiations on the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service Enterprise Agreement is scheduled for 14:00 hours today at the UFU office. The employer is expected to continue to outline the issues they seek to pursue. Members will be kept informed. 

Further to Wordback No 5, some members expressed concern that the union is participating in the employer’s agenda to increase the number of act ups. I assure you we are not. 

To be clear, Wordback No 5 set out issues that the employer is raising. 

State Council has repeatedly stated that we do not believe an increase in the number of act ups is warranted and that other actions are available to the MFS to address concerns they raise. The discussions on this with your employer continue. 

Many Retained members have expressed concern with us about the employer’s agenda in regard to rostering. You may recall that your union organised a meeting of Retained Shop Stewards in July 2018 which presented the then Chief Officer, Mr Crossman with clear evidence about the proposed rosters being a disaster for retained stations. The proposal was then abandoned based on that evidence. 

It is not surprising that the employer’s agenda is unchanged, the evidence however, is not. 

PORT PIRIE DISPUTE HEATS UP 

Two months after the Determination of the SBC was handed down (13 December 2019) to settle the Port Pirie dispute, there was still no response from the MFS as to whether they would accept the recommendations and settle the dispute. The continued position of the MFS has been that they are ‘seeking advice’… 

The length of time this is taking is more than curious given that the Determination is very clear and soundly based on law. 

Our union advised the employer weeks ago, that in the absence of a response by the time of the meeting of State Council yesterday the failure of the employer to accept the recommendations would be taken as a rejection of them. 

The State Council discuss this matter in detail and reaffirmed our commitment to the application of the provisions of the industrial instruments applying to our members, and in this case particularly the application of award clause 15.5.3 (a) (iv) to all members. 

The need to consider Mount Gambier as part of the same consideration currently applying to Port Pirie travel was acknowledged, and we called upon the MFS to accept the terms of the SBC recommendations. 

In the absence of the acceptance of the SBC recommendations by the employer, State Council resolved to pursue satisfaction of the application of the Award provisions and resolution of the matters in dispute, through all means possible. 

I contacted the MFS to advise of the resolution of State Council following the conclusion of the meeting yesterday afternoon and they advised that they have determined to reject the recommendations. 

Accordingly, initial steps are being instigated today to seek full and proper settlement of these matters in the public domain. Members will certainly be kept informed. There is much more to come. 

BA TECHICIANS DISPUTE 

Correspondence has been received from the MFS Chief Officer in relation to our query about the employer’s decision to remove essential qualifications from the PID of the Senior BA Technician without consultation with the union (as required by their enterprise agreement). 

The MFS responded that the change was a “minor” matter not requiring consultation and further, the employer has proceeded to advertise and fill the position. 

State Council is deeply concerned in relation to the lack of consultation, the impact on members who have worked hard in that area, and the potential impact on the health and safety of firefighters and has resolved to take every necessary step to resolve this issue satisfactorily. 

A dispute has been notified to the employer with the requirement that the provision of the Agreement for the status quo to be maintained while the dispute is resolved, be applied. 

Members will be kept informed on progress in this matter. 

PAYMENTS FOR DEPLOYMENTS 

Our union met with DCO Fletcher, ACFO Peter Button and Fiona Somerville on Monday morning at the request of the Chief Officer to discuss payments made for deployments. 

At that meeting, the MFS told us that they had given an undertaking to all those of you volunteering for deployments that the Award and Agreement conditions would apply. 

It is good that they made this clear to employees however it should be noted that this is not an optional matter, those conditions legally simply must apply. 

The MFS went on to tell us that for a variety of reasons the KI deployment had been treated as an interstate deployment. Due to the complexity and extensive work involved in unravelling this, your employer requested that the union agree to work outside of the industrial instruments. 

Our response is that we are unable to contract out of those instruments even if we wanted to. I gave an undertaking that I would confirm my advice with legal authority and I have done so. 

Yesterday the matter was considered by the UFU State Council with the outcome of the following unanimous resolution: 

State Council resolve that the response to the MFS regarding payment of deployments is that such payment must be in line with the legal advice received by the union confirming that the award and enterprise agreement provisions apply as required. 

The union remains open to developing with the MFS a very clear set of procedures in relation to deployment circumstances and payments for deployments as advised to DCO Fletcher on Monday by the Secretary. 

SA BUSHFIRE REVIEW 

The UFU State Council considered this matter at our meeting yesterday and determined to participate in the review. The focus of the review is on both the Kangaroo Island and Cuddlee Creek bushfires and information forwarded by members will be used as the basis of our submission. 

The Terms of Reference of the review can be accessed by clicking here. 

Thank you to all UFU members who have continued to provide our office with a great deal of feedback about the operations you’ve been involved in so far this season. This information will be used in a positive way to assist in continual improvement. If you haven’t yet been in touch or if you have feedback or views you believe can assist, please email us at info@ufusa.com.au as soon as possible. 

REVIEW OF TRIAL OF 3214 APPLIANCE 

Members would be aware of the trial of the bushfire appliance 3214 at Salisbury Station which now appears to be written into the OLOP. 

This while the UFU State Council is not aware of any review of the trial to determine strengths, weaknesses, appropriate resourcing, etc. Feedback from those involved in the trial is very positive however there are a range of issues to be addressed such as appropriate resourcing, and cross manning. 

At the meeting yesterday therefore, State Council resolved to seek that the MFS conduct a review as soon as possible, of the trial of the 3214 appliance in line with the union’s 2019 proposed trial consultation document (summarily rejected by the MFS). 

State Council proposed the document in order to introduce order into such trials and avoid the common MFS practice of introducing trials but never reviewing them. The subject of the trials often then somehow either die away or are put into practice without consultation about how effective the trial has been or agreement about its introduction or otherwise. 

Members will be kept informed. 

OTR WORKING GROUP 

Concerns about the operation of OTR have at last resulted in a joint working group to develop guidelines for its operation and the first meeting of this group will be at 08:30 hours on Monday 17 February 2020. Our UFU representatives on the working group are UFUSA President Chas Thomas and Vice President (Firefighters) Michael Riggs. 

ELECTION FOR THE UFUSA STATE COUNCIL CASUAL VACANCY 

A reminder that nominations for the election of a UFU Committee of Management member – Firefighter Representative remain open until 17 February 2020. 

The election notice and official nomination form provided by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has been published and can be accessed on our website www.ufusa.com.au or you can contact the AEC. 

WET WEATHER GEAR 

Tim Maitland arrived at the meeting of State Council yesterday wearing a very flash wet weather jacket. We are hoping that these will be made available for the coming winter(?) Please contact Tim if you’d like to know more. 

MOTHER’S DAY CLASSIC 

The Mother’s Day Classic once again approaches, and a small organising team is already meeting and organising for the big day. Details will be in the next Wordback so please think about participating. All participants will again receive a free union T-shirt or running singlet. 

PADDLE 4 PROSTATE THIS WEEKEND! 

The UFU is supporting The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and inviting members to do the Paddle4Prostate – a great way to raise important funds and awareness for this cause which has impacted so many of our members. 

This will be a fun event for the whole family to join in – Canoe, kayak, Stand-up paddle or dragon boat your way around Delfin Island. Our own Nat Gohl is supporting the event and is offering SUP hire for $20 if you need. 

It’s not too late to get involved! 

1. Click on the link https://www.paddle4prostate.com.au/ 

2. Register yourself joining the UFU team 

3. Notify team captain Simon Herreen that you have joined (and if you need a UFU singlet) herreens@gmail.com or 0421709601

4. Contact Nat if you require a board nat@standuppaddlesa.com 041911356 

In solidarity,

ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT (EA) UPDATE

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United Fire Fighters Union Of South Australia - UFUSA

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