Public drilling by D shift in the city on Friday, 15 January 2021 ensured an eventful day in which our union had the opportunity to inform our community about the critical issues confronting firefighters on a daily basis and the refusal by the employer to even discuss the concerns for over a year now.
The event ensured that the government’s publicity proclaiming this is an issue being driven by “outsiders” and is not a real concern to firefighters, was revealed as more smoke and mirrors. Thank you to all those involved.
Right from commencement in October 2019, in enterprise bargaining negotiations the UFU has consistently raised our concern about the State Government’s failure to provide a safe workplace for firefighters and the State Government putting public safety at risk by failing to provide appropriate resources. In correspondence just received the employer denies that; more smoke and mirrors.
Disappointingly there is still no response from Mr Marshall to our request early last week for a meeting with him to explain why this issue is so important. It does not appear to us that he understands or wants to. What a stark contrast to his statements to the media last Friday that he is “listening respectfully” to firefighters. How are you listening to firefighters if you don’t even meet? Firefighters are certainly not being afforded any respect.
Mr Marshall’s stance is also belied by the Treasurer/Industrial Relations Minister Mr Lucas who reportedly told The Advertiser last Friday that it doesn’t matter what firefighters do, there will be no more funding.
But as the saying goes, if you don’t do something different, nothing changes; our campaign is in its early days and despite the employer’s propaganda, campaign activities by members will continue and escalate.
Keeping firefighters and the public safe is and has always been a fundamental requirement which UFU members prioritised on the EA agenda. Firefighters have a right to a safe workplace and the resources necessary to achieve a safe workplace are matters affecting and relating to rights to a safe workplace.
Accordingly, resources necessary to achieve a safe workplace are industrial matters as defined by the Fair Work Act 1994. In any event, the UFU’s underlying claim is for provisions that ensure a safe workplace for its members.
In a further campaign development, the employer has finally responded to the union’s request of 4 December 2020 for a meeting on the Enterprise agreement. While we await confirmation of deployment of our State Councillors to attend the meeting, it is proposed that the parties will get together at 13:00 hours this Friday, 22 January 2021.
Our union has been very clear in our correspondence with the employer that in meeting, the UFU will again explain the existing serious risks to firefighter and public safety and seek to persuade the declared employer of the need to take significant action to provide firefighters with the resources necessary for a safer workplace.
You can be sure that your EA negotiating team comprised of Chas Thomas, Michael Riggs, Chris Barry, Jas Kaur and Paul Caica and I will continue to argue strongly on the issues prioritised by members and that you will be kept informed.
Meanwhile, the campaign activities will continue as per Wordback No 2 of 2021.
Operational on-shift members have sought clarification regarding the wearing of Union T-Shirts and the SAMFS Blue Dress Shirt.
For those seeking clarification, please read on:
- On Shift Operational Members are to wear their Union T-shirt on BOTH day shifts (prioritise the first day shift)
- “T Shirt Tuesday” for day workers who can wear the Union T-shirt all day
- Retained Firefighters wear their Union T-Shirt to training
- Members are not to wear their SAMFS blue dress shirt on top of their Union T-shirts
- When not wearing a Union T-shirt, Members can wear their SAMFS blue dress shirt at their discretion, but it is not mandatory
Members are advised that it has been determined to offer a second Union t-shirt. Please contact the Union office at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your size and work location or, co-ordinate with your shop steward all the names and sizes required at your worksite so a bulk delivery can be made.
In an additional step in our campaign our union has commenced an online petition in response to all those who wish to support firefighters and send a direct message to the Marshall government.
It would be greatly appreciated if you would sign the petition and forward it on to as many others as possible and urge them to also support our campaign by signing the petition and sharing it.
The views and ideas of members are encouraged and appreciated so please do forward your great ideas to email@example.com at your earliest opportunity or speak to your local Shop Steward or State Councillor. Thank you all again for your strong and ongoing support for this campaign.
Thank you to everyone who has forwarded photographs and videos illustrating the resourcing concerns; please keep them coming in. It is critical that our community sees just why we are campaigning so that they don’t fall for Marshall’s smoke and mirrors.