The September 2020 State Council meeting was once again a very busy one with a range of important matters addressed.
For example Council was pleased to welcome Deb Parsons and Hong Juanta who presented an update on the 2020 SDF Review. It was noted that this SDF review does not include Comcen or Retained Firefighters however we are advised that these are subject to separate reviews.
Other matters addressed at the September Council included the following issues and there will be more to come in Wordback No 35.
SENIOR FIREFIGHTER LEVEL 2 QUALIFIED
As reported in Wordback No 31 (which you can find here) on 27 August 2020, we met with MFS senior management on 18 August 2020 (date corrected) to discuss the implementation of the enhanced training package for Senior Firefighters and more particularly, our proposals to address and resolve the outstanding industrial issues involved so that the training can commence immediately on a clear and unambiguous basis.
State Council expressed disappointment on 10 September 2020 that there has been no response from the MFS/Government to our proposals (as outlined in Wordback No 31) and discussion with MFS management this week confirmed that there is still no response developed by the employer on the matter.
We are deeply concerned that members should NOT be disadvantaged by the apparent inability of the employer to fully address the issues and implement a scheme with all the details set out for participants right from the beginning. Further, as the enhanced training arose from our union identifying a skills gap for those required to act up it is important that the training be delivered as a priority.
Accordingly Council resolved that in the absence of a response from the employer on our proposals:
“…the UFU write to the MFS Chief Officer and urge that the training for SF Level 2 Qualified commence forthwith, noting that this will take place under the current EA conditions with further consultation regarding the skills maintenance component still required.”
The correspondence has been forwarded to the Chief Officer and if accepted, this will mean that Senior Firefighters successfully completing the training course will do so on the understanding that in accordance with the EA, they will then be entitled to the full additional payment and may also be required to act up to SO.
It is noted that the industrial issues remain unresolved and may be subject to industrial dispute in future.
Members will be kept informed of any progress.
ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT (EA) CAMPAIGN
As previously reported, meetings of members have commenced in the metropolitan area to hear a report on negotiations for the next EA and the proposed EA campaign focused on resourcing but also dealing with other issues. Please let us know if your Station is keen to meet sooner rather than later and we will prioritise you on the schedule.
At the September meeting your State Council endorsed the EA/Resourcing campaign which commences with worksite meetings, visits to politicians’ offices to explain our concerns and seek support and media.
A meeting of Shop Stewards and State Councillors will be called in late October and members are likely to have the opportunity to determine a campaign of industrial action following that.
State Council expressed concern regarding MFS correspondence received on the monitoring of alarms at Adelaide Airport. It appears that the response arrangements for up to 12 alarms airside and in the airport precinct are proposed to change. The impact of changes on firefighters is being assessed in consultation with members in the Aviation Branch. It was noted that this change does not take the MFS airside.
PORT PIRIE TRAVEL ALLOWANCE CLAIMS
The UFUSA has now commenced proceedings in the South Australian Employment Tribunal on behalf of a number of members at the rank of Firefighter who were transferred to Port Pirie as far back as 2005 and who have not been paid any travel or meals allowance as required under the Award.
If you fall into this category and you wish to pursue your claim in the Tribunal please get in touch with us as a matter of priority and by no later than COB Friday 25 September 2020 for advice. Failure to get in touch may mean that the UFUSA is no longer able to provide assistance in respect of your claim.
WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY REPRESENTATIVE (WHSR) ELECTION OUTCOMES
Further to our recent election result announcements, James Davis has been declared elected as the Oakden Station Deputy Health and Safety Representative / Shop Steward and Craig Attard has been declared elected as the Health and Safety Representative / Shop Steward for Christie Downs Station. Craig is also the UFUSA Rep on the Noarlunga Command Station Consultative Committee which I have also been invited to and will be joining.
Vacancies do still exist at a few stations, so please check the status of your WHSR/Shop Steward and consider whether your station or workplace has a voice. Station meetings are underway to commence the campaign for a decent EA and in particular the need for appropriate resourcing to enable you to do your job safely and well; your representative will play a key role in the forthcoming campaign so please make sure you don’t get left behind.
This week we’ve had the pleasure of organising and delivering Level 1 Health and Safety Representative training to 17 participants covering both full time and retained firefighters who have been elected by you to the role of WHSR. These representatives have stepped forward to ensure that you have a voice in protecting your health and safety at work.
The union office has certainly been a hive of activity this week so please stay tuned for more about what’s been happening.
PANDEMIC BORDER CONTROL
Members have contacted the union office with questions in relation to the media reports this week of emergency services being asked to assist SAPOL with border control. I’m pleased to report that the MFS has confirmed that members will not be requested to perform these duties.