OFFER ON ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT

UFUSA News

Your elected State Councillors and Shop Stewards met yesterday to consider the offer made by the Marshall government in relation to the SAMFS Enterprise Agreement (EA) in tandem with correspondence from the Minister in relation to resourcing.

UFUSA Resourcing Campaign

At the meeting of Shop Stewards and State Councillors conducted on Monday, 31 January 2022 to consider the offer, the following resolution was passed unanimously:

“This meeting of UFU State Councillors and Shop Stewards condemns the Marshall government for its failure to negotiate in good faith on our Enterprise Agreement and Safety and Resourcing claims for over 2 years and for making a last-minute offer which is offensive to firefighters, and which is not endorsed by this meeting. Due to our strong commitment to our membership and the democratic process, we nevertheless resolve that the matter be put to ballot for determination.”

The terms of offer in relation to the EA will be distributed to members in more detail in the coming week however the main components discussed are as follows:

QUANTUM OF THE OFFER

A $1000 cash payment for full-time firefighters (paid pro rata for part-time firefighters based on the hours worked over the last 12 months) is a one-off payment and does not apply for superannuation purposes.

The 1.5% per annum pay increase would apply from the first full pay period on or after 1 August 2021, 1 August 2022, 1 August 2023, and 1 August 2024 is concerning at a time when the CPI (Consumer Price Index) in Australia for the 12 months to December 2021 is 3.5% and tipped to increase further in the next few years. For more information https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/price-indexes-and-inflation/consumer-price-index-australia/latest-release

The meeting expressed concern that a wage increase of 1.5% represents a decrease in the buying power of our wages – see the link below to The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for wage movements around the country and in states in both the private and public sectors.
https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/price-indexes-and-inflation/wage-price-index-australia/latest-release


Comparisons discussed at the meeting include:

  • SA Government Nurses received a minimum of 3 x 2% per annum pay increases in their Enterprise Agreement certified in 2020, expiring in 2022. (Classification restructure may top this up)
  • SA Police received a minimum of 4 x 2% per annum pay increases from 1 January 2021 (EA provisions for higher payments if certain criteria met)
  • SA Teachers received 2.35% per annum (and 3.35% for Principals) in 2020 following their strike action in 2018/19.
  • SA Public Servants Salaried EA received a one-off $1000 cash payment and 1.5% pay increase per annum from first full pay period on or after 1 August 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024.
  • SA Doctors received 3 x 1.5% per annum recently (not yet certified on last search)
  • SA Ambos remain in dispute and have not received a pay increase in the last 4 years. The AEA membership continue to campaign strongly on resourcing and wages.

OPERATIVE DATE AND PERIOD OF OPERATION OF THE EA

Firefighters were due for our next pay increase on 1 January 2021. The government has now offered 1.5% backpay to August 2021 together with a $1000 one-off cash payment (pro rata for part-time employees). The terms of offer mean that the last pay increase under the proposed EA would be made in August 2024. Members should note however that under the terms of offer, the new EA will operate from the date of certification. So, if the offer is accepted by members at ballot, an application would be made to the SA Employment Tribunal for certification which might happen in March 2022, creating an expiry date of the EA 3 years later, of March 2025.

Accordingly, the real period covered by the $1000 one-off payment and the 4 x 1.5% pay increases is from 1 January 2021 to March 2025, a period of 4 years and 3 months.

Trade-Offs The meeting noted that Trade-offs are no longer on the table.

ADDITIONAL POINTS

  • Legal proceedings in relation to Senior Firefighter Qualified and Port Pirie allowances remain unresolved between the parties and those matters will continue in court.
  • Promotional processes for Station Officer and Commander positions will be subject to review by the parties in the first 12 months of the Agreement with a view to ensuring fairness, independence, professionalism, and transparency in the process.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE OFFER IS REJECTED?

If members vote to reject the offer, it is off the table, and we will fight on. Members will decide.

SAFETY AND RESOURCING

There is no doubt that our Safety and Resourcing campaign has been instrumental in increasing the level of resourcing within the SAMFS however it still falls far short of what is required. Whether it be resourcing of appliances, equipment, diesel particulates extraction systems, BOPS, training, new stations, Engineering Department or even just a plan for professional asset management, it’s just lacking.

In tandem with the EA offer, the Minister has provided the union with correspondence in relation to resourcing of the MFS over the next 10 years. Disappointingly the correspondence does not address the range of issues raised with the Minister, Treasurer and Premier over the last 2 years and our concerns are summarised in the UFU letter in response (see your elected representative for a copy).

NEXT STEP

Yesterday’s meeting resolved that your representatives will organise meetings of members to discuss the offer at every station and workplace on every shift possible. Importantly members will resolve the issue at ballot which, subject to arrangements being made, may commence late next week.

In solidarity

OFFER ON ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT

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