As reported in Wordback No 21 of 2021, Safety and Resourcing Campaign bans were lifted on 30 April 2021, in response to the agreement of the Chief Officer to meet to discuss a range of issues of concern. That meeting took place on 6 May 2021 with the UFU outlining issues of ongoing concern which are affecting the health, safety and well-being of our members.
These included operational safety, crewing of appliances, training, TICs, BOPS, Diesel Particulates, mental health and well-being, bullying and harassment, policy and procedure including the urgent need for the updating of SAP 36, and SFQ level 2.
The parties agreed to meet again on Wednesday, 19 May 2021 at 13:00 hours to continue the discussions and to hear back from management.
In the meantime other aspects of the Safety and Resourcing Campaign will continue unabated including the political campaigning and meetings with individual members of Parliament, community education, collective union activities, social media and gathering public support for our petition.
Importantly, we are continuing to call upon Premier Stephen Marshall to meet with us so that we can ensure he is receiving the facts about the dire state of resourcing of the MFS and has the opportunity to address our concerns in a meaningful way.
Union T-Shirts will continue to be worn by all members. And if you are feeling the cold, don’t forget that fabulous union hoodies are available from the union office for under cost price ($30), which can also be worn.
Our union will continue to use every opportunity to engage in dialogue with MFS leadership about the matters of concern to firefighters while also maintaining our campaign for safety and resourcing. Members will be kept informed of any developments.
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. See our union petition here.
STATION OFFICER ACT-UP / GAD REQUEST
Numerous members have contacted the Union Office late last week following an email from the MFS distributed to eligible Senior Firefighters of its intention to GAD a number to the position of Station Officer, ongoing, over the next few months.
The matter of GAD positions has been the subject of discussion with the MFS over an extended period. The Union’s position on act-ups/GADs has repeatedly been made clear to the MFS:
- That GAD positions must not be used to circumvent nor delay promotional processes;
- That a proper, transparent and equitable process be in place for the selection of those to act-up in these or any other GAD positions;
- That given filling a GAD position may or is likely to advantage members wishing to contest promotion to the substantive rank in which they have been acting, it be shared equitably amongst eligible members;
- That the MFS deem the period acting-up in a GAD position as time served in that rank when eligible members are promoted to the substantive rank and
- That GAD position(s) across the operational structure (including marine) must be included and recognised as an act-up when determining the total number allowable to act-up under our operational staffing agreement.
The Union has also raised with the MFS that it is critical the relevant but outdated policy, SAP36, be updated as a matter of priority. Equally critical is that consequential amendments required to other policies and procedures as a result of updating SAP36 be done concurrently.
At the Unions meeting with the Chief last Thursday, it was agreed that at our next meeting to be held in the coming weeks, the MFS will report back on this issue as one of the priority matters raised and discussed.
RETAINED MEMBERS – LONG SERVICE LEAVE
The UFU has been pursuing the matter of appropriate payment for members employed as Retained Firefighters when on long service leave, with the employer for a considerable time. Finally yesterday we received an email from the MFS with the following confirmation of our position:
In summary, whilst a Retained Fire Fighter is on long service leave, they will continue to receive the fortnightly Retainer payment (in accordance with EA conditions) and a ‘rolled up’ rate including the employees (sic) current hourly rate, plus the 12 month overage of the Retainer payment, Fire Callouts and Additional training shifts.
Our union has queried the rationale for why Shared Services are using the 12 month average and also given the change in position by the MFS regarding how the retainer is paid, if and when Shared Services and the MFS will be doing an audit to ensure there are no underpayments.
Meantime members employed as Retained Firefighters who have taken long service leave, are advised to check what payments you have received for the period.
In 2020 our state union rules were changed so that individual UFUSA members can exercise choice on whether to continue your membership of the national union, the UFUA. These rules were certified in accordance with the unanimous recommendation of the UFUSA State Council and the overwhelming endorsement of the 2019 UFUSA AGM. (See Members Informed Choice on our website www.ufusa.com.au for more information.) The rule change means that two separate elections are being held this year.
UFUSA – The first is for positions on our State Council of the UFUSA which governs our union here in SA and all financial members are entitled to vote in the ballots which are being conducted.
As advised by the Returning Officer, ballot papers for the contested positions on the UFUSA State Council will be posted out this week to UFUSA members. All members are urged to participate in this democratic process for the governing body of our union.
UFUA – While many UFUSA members have now resigned membership of the SA Branch of the UFU of Australia, if you have not, you will shortly receive a second set of ballot papers for the contested position on the committee of management of the branch. Again, members are urged to participate in all democratic processes.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any queries in relation to the updated rules.