SAFETY & RESOURCING CAMPAIGN REPORT

UFUSA Resourcing Campaign

 UFU Shop Stewards and State Councillors met yesterday with our Safety and Resourcing Campaign a major agenda item. Many concerns continue to be raised about the resourcing of the MFS and in particular further specific examples of problems with our fleet. 

It was agreed that there should be a dedicated address for members to send in safety concerns to your union and as a result, you can now direct copies of reports, photographs and communications directly to: safety@ufusa.com.au 

Our union also continues to urge you all to continue to ensure that reports are made directly through the chain of command through MySafety (hard copy is reportedly available where the system fails) or an SP26, as well as keeping us informed. 

UFUSA Helmet Sticker

Even if your experience is that no action follows, it is vital that such matters are documented and that you retain a record of it, preferably forwarding it to us as well. 

It’s great that our campaign has stimulated the ordering of more new appliances than originally planned and the gratitude of firefighters for this is expressed on every occasion. 

WordBack Resourcing Campaign

However even if the touted 22 appliances (2+3+3+3, said to be matched by the MFS) do arrive over the next 4 years (and we have no guarantees of this), the MFS will still have a fleet with many ageing appliances requiring increased levels of maintenance and repairs, no or inadequate spare appliances and the problem continues its downward spiral. Our estimate is that 12 new appliances were required as of 2020 followed by 6 new appliances per annum (12+6+6+6). 

Funding from the MFS capital budget which is brought forward will cause a drastic shortfall for appliances in the period from which it has been brought forward. And meanwhile, the numbers are of course only on paper, so that should another priority arise, as they often do in the MFS, we have no guarantee whatsoever of all or any of the appliances. 

And while the appliances are at the forefront of our Safety and Resourcing campaign, they are far from being the only element of concern we are raising repeatedly. The Engineering Department, BATA, Learning and Development, Regional Operations and professional support staff are all included in the need for additional resourcing covered by our claim for safety and resourcing.  

The threat to firefighters of diesel particulate matter continues as a high priority with a need for funding to roll out direct extraction systems to all stations in the same way as is occurring currently in the Victorian Fire and Rescue Service. This was raised directly with the Treasurer with no response and seemingly no concern about the health and well-being of emergency services workers who are already exposed to contaminants which are constantly killing our members. 

The overarching objective of our campaign for the safety and resourcing of firefighters of course is to achieve a professional approach to asset planning and resourcing within the MFS. 

The overarching objective of our campaign for the safety and resourcing of firefighters of course is to achieve a professional approach to asset planning and resourcing within the MFS. 

While it is understood that even with the necessary funding, it will take a considerable period for the employer to address the matters we are raising, it is critical that there be an understanding by government of the requirements of a modern day emergency fire and rescue service and a commitment to funding it. 

Resourcing Campaign

A professional asset management plan which builds in redundancy and ensures that funding is available as needed, without a requirement for ongoing (and mostly unsuccessful over the years) budget bids, is a no-brainer. We keep being told there is an asset management plan but we never see any evidence of it. 

It is interesting to note that a “sector wide” asset management framework is now being developed; seems like our campaign is having at least some cut through but it is highly unlikely that this government will fund asset management in emergency services responsibly. 

AMBOS AND FIRIES IN SOLIDARITY 

We were privileged to welcome Leah, Rob and Josh from the Ambulance Employees Association (AEA) to our meeting yesterday to provide a report on their campaign for safety and resourcing in SAAS. 

It was interesting to note that both our organisations are confronting the same lack of concern from the Marshall government for emergency services workers and also that the same “smoke and mirrors” tactics are being used by the employer against both organisations. 

Funding already announced is being repeatedly re-announced by the government, misleading media statements are made about spending, there is misinformation about meetings and negotiations with our unions, respective managements of the agencies are fearful of the government so are doing their bidding and most concerningly the health and safety of our members and of the community are of little concern to the Marshall government. 

The following resolution was unanimously passed: 

This meeting of the UFU State Council and Shop Stewards thanks Leah, Rob and Josh for their detailed report and congratulates the AEA on the stance taken in relation to the inadequate resourcing of the SA Ambulance Service by the Marshall government and recognises the critical issues affecting the health and well-being of both our ambos and our community caused by that lack of resourcing. 

This meeting condemns the Marshall government for its failure in its years of government to address the issues of emergency services workers, its ongoing use of dishonest political rhetoric to try to hide its shameful lack of action and for the attacks on essential workers who protect and serve our community. 

As representatives of firefighters we commit to supporting the “Safe Staffing = Safe Community” campaign in any way possible including distribution of their petition, joint public activities and delegations to our Parliamentary representatives. 

Strength in Solidarity!  

The UFU is assisting with the distribution of the AEA petition from our office. It is hard copy and available in bundles of 100 enveloped ready for letterboxing or providing to family friends and workmates. Each envelope includes a reply paid envelope for the return of the petition. Please let us know if you’d like to help or you can simply call into our office to collect a bundle. 

Meanwhile please stay tuned for more information on joint campaign activities! 

Political campaigning for safety and resourcing is ongoing and we were pleased to also welcome Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Lee Odenwalder to our meeting. Lee has maintained a keen interest in our campaign and is concerned about the poor treatment of emergency services workers by the Marshall government. 

As you’d be aware, the next State election is scheduled to be held in March 2022 so the ALP is currently consulting about policy which it will take to that election. It’s nice to be consulted and we will be participating in meetings in the near future with Lee and senior party officials to discuss what is needed for a modern fire and rescue service and what we could expect under a Labor government. 

You can provide feedback to info@ufusa.com.au if there are matters you’d like us to raise. 

AIIRS REPORT ALARM CODE CHANGES 

The Union has received reports that members are no longer able to select the codes: 600-Good Intent and 31-Investigation Only when completing AIIRS reports. 

Members are now advised to please use the Situation Code ‘737 – FIP – Normal On Arrival, Line Fault/Open Line’ when attending alarm calls, all other details as per your attendance detail. Action taken should be relevant to what you did – Isolate/Reset/Investigate code as per normal. 

FORTHCOMING UFU ELECTIONS – ARE YOUR DETAILS UP-TO-DATE? 

Our union’s elections are scheduled to be conducted in the near future and all financial members will be eligible to vote. But of course we need to have your up-to-date details to provide to the organisation which will conduct any ballots required. If your contact details have changed please let us know by calling 8352 7211 or emailing info@ufusa.com.au 

The voting roll will close on 24 March 2021 so please act now to ensure you will receive any ballot papers distributed. 

ONLINE CAMPAIGN PETITION 

A reminder to members of the online Safety and Resourcing Campaign petition in response to all those who wish to support firefighters and send a direct message to the Marshall government. You can access the UFUSA petition here, or on our Facebook page (click here). 

It’s going really well so please do check it out and spread the word; we need to ensure that the Marshall government hears the voice of firefighters and our community. 

In solidarity, 

SAFETY & RESOURCING CAMPAIGN REPORT

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