SAFETY & RESOURCING CAMPAIGN REPORT

UFUSA Resourcing Campaign Penny Wong

Our safety and resourcing campaign is continuing to receive a lot of attention and support and we were pleased to host Senator Penny Wong at the union office on 11 February 2021. Senator Wong’s message to firefighters included an expression of thanks for the work firefighters do and admiration for the campaign being conducted by firefighters to achieve “public good”. 

Your State Council members have been out and about meeting with a range of politicians to speak about the campaign and to explain why it is so critical. Most recently this has included Eddie Hughes, and Nat Cook at Parliament House this week where we also spoke to Katrine Hildyard and Frances Bedford. We are glad to report that there is widespread support for our campaign and an understanding of the concerns which need to be addressed. A big thank you to all firefighters who have been involved in the delegations to our Members of Parliament. 

A meeting of Shop Stewards and State Councillors has been scheduled for next Thursday, 25 February 2021 at the UFU office where a full report will be provided to the meeting together with discussion of achievements to date and proposals for the next steps. Both full-time and retained firefighter representatives will be involved in the meeting with zoom facilities made available to our regional representatives. 

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

Members may be aware that 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.

STATE COUNCIL 

As usual, our State Council was kept busy at our February 2021 meeting with issues such as the negotiations on the Enterprise agreement, the safety and resourcing campaign update, SFQ level 2, MFS policies and procedures and the Strategic Policy Framework, disputes reports, WHS issues and in particular an update on diesel particulate matter. Many of these concerns will be subject to discussion at the forthcoming Shop Stewards and State Councillors meeting on 25 February 2021. 

We were fortunate to receive in particular a first-hand report from Senator Penny Wong in relation to the Industrial Relations Omnibus Bill. 

State Council also received correspondence from UFU State Councillor Shaun Goad resigning from his position on the State Council. In accordance with our rules, State Council accepted the resignation and wished Shaun well in the future. 

SENIOR FIREFIGHTER QUALIFIED LEVEL 2 (SFQL2) ASSESSMENT 

The UFUSA office has received queries from members who attended the recent SFQL2 assessment querying what their entitlements are for attending the assessment. 

We confirm that under the Agreement members are entitled to be paid for their attendance at the assessment, including at overtime rates if attendance is outside of normal hours or in excess of rostered hours. The applicable overtime pay rates are set out at cl 19 of the Agreement, which you can access here. 

If you think you have not been paid correctly we suggest you raise the issue with your chain of command via an SP 26 and if the issue remains unresolved please contact us so that we can review your situation and advise further. 

RETAINED FIRFIGHTERS’ LONG SERVICE LEAVE 

In response to concerns raised by Retained Firefighter members regarding Long Service Leave entitlements and the way in which their entitlements were calculated and paid, the UFU has pursued clarification with the employer . 

Unsurprisingly, a key point of confusion is the way in which information is displayed (or not displayed) on the payslips, making it all that little bit harder for members to understand their own leave entitlements. 

After numerous exchanges of correspondence and meetings between both the UFUSA and MFS and most recently, the UFUSA, MFS and Shared Services…we still do not have a clear answer. 

Shared Services gave an undertaking yesterday to go back and seek further clarification from Crown Law which we hope will provide the clarity required and resolve this matter for members concerned. 

CHIEF’S MEMORANDUM NO. 08/2021 – NON WORK RELATED INJURIES 

First in, best dressed for when light duties are required as a result of non-work related injuries? Doesn’t seem like a fair, transparent or equitable system does it? 

Members, rightly so, have raised their concerns about the contents of Memorandum No.08 /2021 and there are indeed concerns regarding the legality of such a blanket statement by the employer. 

Should any member find yourself in the unfortunate position of needing light duties as a result of the non-work related injury, we strongly advise you to put your request for such work in writing and to confirm any response from your chain of command in writing as well. 3 

If you are refused or have any problems in relation to this process, please contact us here at your Union office on 8352 7211 for advice and assistance. 

ONLINE CAMPAIGN PETITION 

A reminder to members of the online 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! 

In solidarity, 

SAFETY & RESOURCING CAMPAIGN REPORT

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