SAFETY AND RESOURCING CAMPAIGN UPDATE

A number of those gathered took the opportunity to speak directly to the Minister for Emergency Services about the difficulties experienced by firefighters with one member respectfully pointing out that in over 30 years of service he has never seen such a bad situation or such poor morale in the MFS.

Minister Tarzia’s response that he’s only been in the seat for 1 ½ years was poorly received by those present, particularly given the preference of his office in response to our continued representations, to play silly political games on this issue of importance. And considering the abject failure of the Marshall government to address our concerns.

And when the employer’s current pay offer to firies of 1.5%pa with the cost of living escalating currently at 3.5%pa, was raised, the Minister reportedly claimed that was not his area but that this is a matter for Treasury and Finance. Yes Minister.

As the election approaches, it is noticeable that it brings with it at least some attention by the government on issues of concern to the community; it is disappointing however that even this impetus has not delivered an asset management plan which will address the ongoing shortfall in resourcing for the MFS ageing fleet, engineering, training and development, IT, equipment and WHS initiatives which are long overdue.

Please come and join us outside Mr Marshall’s office to demonstrate your concern on this issue:

When: Thursday 24 February 2022 10:00 hours
Where: in front of the State Administration Centre, 200 Victoria Square, Adelaide.

If you would like to give support and help out in this campaign, please contact info@ufusa.com.au or speak to your local Shop Steward or State Councillor.

BALLOT TO BE CONDUCTED ON ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT OFFER

Thank you to everyone who has kept us informed of membership feedback on the wage offer from the employer, the Marshall government and the MFS; an offer generally summarised to date by members as ‘offensive’ to firefighters.

The opportunity to formally cast your ballot on the matter approaches, and whether you determine to reject or accept the offer, it is important for a decisive outcome that everyone ensures they vote. You will be able to do so on your phone or through a voting website.

The Department of Premier and Cabinet has advised that an independent company CiVS will conduct the electronic ballot and the intention is that the ballot will commence by electronic means at 09:00 hours on Monday, 21 February 2022 and conclude at 17:00 hours Monday, 28 February 2022. We are advised that the MFS will send out ballot information in a communication to all employees covered by the EA, shortly.
If you haven’t yet had a workplace or shift meeting to discuss the employer’s offer and you would like this organised, please speak ASAP to your local Shop Steward or State Councillor.

COVID MANDATE

The UFU State Council meeting last week discussed serious membership concerns in relation to the introduction of the Covid mandate in the SAMFS. While our strong support for vaccination does not waver, nor does our opposition to a mandate forcing employees to undertake a medical procedure or risk losing their employment.

This is particularly important when there is clear health advice that such a mandate is not required in order to keep the community and the workforce safe. Other aligned agencies have managed this. But then such an alternative approach takes sound and capable personnel management.

Firefighters who are highly trained and with service of many years are highly distressed to have been told they may not work for the SAMFS unless or until they meet the requirements of the mandate. We hear from the media that 57 MFS employees are directly affected and together with those isolating, staffing numbers are already being impacted. Some critical areas, such as the Engineering Department are already reportedly experiencing great difficulties in delivering services.

As indicated in Wordback No 4/2022, our union has raised many questions with the MFS in relation to the operation of the mandate on behalf of members with very little (and rather muddled) information provided in response by the MFS. Certainly, we have no answers for timing of the introduction of this mandate just as restrictions are being lifted and we are being told we have a “passed the peak”.

We will continue to press for answers, to work with other unions, and to provide assistance wherever possible to members affected.

In Solidarity

SAFETY AND RESOURCING CAMPAIGN UPDATE

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