It was a very full day of business today for your elected representatives who met to hear reports and participate in discussions about a wide range of matters affecting you as members. Many thanks to all involved for your ongoing commitment and hard work aimed at improving the job and maximising the safety of your workmates, much of it in your own time.
EA: Commencing with discussion of some of the issues which members may be looking to have included in the log of claims for the next enterprise agreement (EA), then working through the range of WHS initiatives currently being addressed, on to consideration and discussion of the MFS proposal for a trial of Managing Work Hours, a great deal of ground was covered. The following is just a flavour of the meeting, boiled down to examples.
While it is early days for in the development of the next EA log, the meeting emphasised the need for a focus on firefighter health and well-being in the claim, especially highlighting the negative experiences of injured members in their return to work efforts when dealing currently with SAFECOM, particularly with PTSD.
Other areas included consideration of the quantum of the next pay claim, the need for better resourcing of learning and development, the ability of firefighters to access training and their banked hours in regional operations, increased RORP positions and Commander drivers, and improved conditions such as for travel allowances to adequately recompense for escalating fuel costs confronting members, particularly Relievers.
Shop Stewards will be having ongoing discussions with members about what is important for you to have included, which will assist in drawing up the EA consultation questionnaire all members will receive early in 2024, leading to the development of the formal log of claims.
Call for more shop stewards: Stations and work areas currently without an elected Shop Steward will be receiving a notice of elections shortly in order to ensure effective organisation and full involvement of members.
Presumptive Legislation – The response from the government in relation to our claim for the extension of the list of cancers covered by the presumptive legislation is expected in the near future and members will be kept informed of progress in this critical area.
Diesel Emissions Meanwhile mitigation initiatives continue and our pursuit of the implementation of election promises and undertakings given in the last EA continue to be met with the government’s ongoing interest and assistance on these matters a refreshing and appropriate change. This includes the commitment of funding to a trial on the direct capture of diesel emissions in engine rooms, a project reported on today by MFS Coordinator for Organisational Safety Michael Clark.
Progress on WHS Clarky reported on the WHS achievements such as the development of a Risk Register identifying the risks in the organisation together with actions taken to mitigate them. While currently under development, once ready to go live, members will have visibility of the Register.
Other areas of WHS progress reported on include the development of the SAAS/MFS support program, the ordering of burn over blankets long sought by regional operations, a safety alert for silica spills, work on P3 full face respirators, the program of removal of PPE from engine rooms, increased education and awareness of the risk of cancers and cardiovascular disease for firefighters and the continued development of a firefighter health monitoring program for early detection.
Reviews: Reports were also provided on the reviews underway such as the Promotions Review, Recruitment review, and the Marine review (which actually may be finally about to start).
Staffing: There was discussion of the current staffing crisis which has the potential danger, particularly over the coming summer season, of trucks being taken off-line where there are not sufficient numbers to crew them. This occurred on the recent long weekend where the worst was ultimately averted by a lot of hard work and a Commander recalled to act down. In order to address the shortage, discussions on measures to assist are being held; these include a voluntary acceleration of the SO Preparation Program and the inclusion of day workers in overtime and recalls to expand the pool of people available.
FATIGUE MANAGEMENT AND OVERTIME/RECALL TRIAL
Kim Arnott, Dale Thompson and Rob Fraser attended the afternoon session of the meeting to report on the ongoing Fatigue Management Project and in particular the MFS proposal for a six-month trial by operational personnel of a new system of overtime and recalls titled “Managing Work Hours” which seeks to create a fairer, more consistent system of overtime and recalls across the MFS.
The trial will centralise the recall system through Sapphire; as 80% of recalls are said to be known in advance, the working group hopes that the process of better sharing overtime can be carried out further in advance using the messaging system rather than the current plethora of phone calls. With more advance notice, it is anticipated the pool of those available will be larger.
Following the consultation with the UFU, members will receive a full presentation on the proposal through MFS shift meetings, with the opportunity to question and provide feedback directly.
UFU MEETING ON THE INDEPENDENT PROMOTIONS REVIEW
Members are invited to a meeting with the independent reviewer of the MFS Promotions process Mr Craig Stevens at 10:00 hours this Friday, 20 October 2023 at the UFUSA office, 148 South Road Torrensville. As part of this review, Mr Stevens is also looking at potential attraction and retention strategies for regional operations. Members interested in attending should RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by 17:00 hours on Thursday 19 October. Zoom arrangements are available if arranged in advance.
17:00 hrs on Saturday, 28 October 2023
Our union is proudly joining the MFS at the Pride March, meeting at 17:00 hours in Whitmore Square on Saturday, 28 October 2023, or there is a bus from Wakefield Street if you book in with MFS early enough. Members are encouraged to wear your Union T-shirt teamed with something very bright and colourful! Please do come and join us.