WELCOME TO 2020

UFUSA 2020

2020 A New Year

The beginning of a new year is normally a cause of celebration and joy however this year, Australia has seen an unprecedented bush fire season with lives, homes, properties and animals sadly lost. 

The response to the bushfires from the local, national and international community has been heartening. The road to recovery will not be short or easy and the season is not yet over. Members continue on deployments in both paid and voluntary work here in SA as well as interstate, giving up time with your families and loved ones to utilise your skills, knowledge and experience to the benefit of the wider community in the face of this disaster. Thank you. 

The way you have all stepped up during these incidents and protected life and property is awe inspiring and your union stands ready to provide you with the support and assistance you may need. We know that UFU Members are among those who have sustained losses in the fires and our thoughts are with you at such a difficult time; our fantastic members running the Professional Firefighters’ Foundation also stand by to assist in a range of ways and can be contacted on 08 82329283 to seek help or to offer your assistance. More on this soon. 

SPECIAL LEAVE 

Special Leave with pay is available in this difficult period to MFS staff under the Commissioner’s Determination 3.1: Employment Conditions – Hours of Work, Overtime and Leave. 

This leave provides for up to 15 days of paid leave for individuals to access due to an “urgent pressing necessity” subject to approval of the SAMFS Chief Officer. 

The MFS has confirmed that one day of this leave equates to a shift, providing members with up to 15 shifts off irrespective of whether they are day or night shifts. 

Urgent pressing necessity is defined as a matter that requires the personal attention of the employee and cannot reasonably be attended to by the employee outside the employee’s hours of duty. 

Members are advised to apply for the leave via email through their chain of command (no SP form is required in this instance). 

If you have any issues with accessing this leave, please raise your concerns via the chain of command in the first instance and if the matter is not resolved, please contact the Union office at info@ufusa.com.au or on 08 8352 7211.  

CALL FOR A ROYAL COMMISSION 

UFUSA has joined a range of organisations representing paid and volunteer firefighters and National Parks employees in supporting the call for a Royal Commission into the national planning, logistics and resourcing of firefighting in Australia, 2020 onwards. 

Most States and Territories began the New Year facing catastrophic and unprecedented fire conditions. Across Australia, homes, properties and lives have been lost, roads and telecommunications are cut, and businesses, communities, stock, and wildlife have been destroyed. Under normal circumstances, this would be considered to be early in the fire season and we would all be concerned by that alone; these fires began in August in NSW and show no signs of stopping. 

Across agencies nationally, members tell us they are under-resourced and not funded to fight these fires, to deal with the recovery from these fires, and to prepare for the fire season to come. Our volunteers are exhausted and losing income while they serve weeks on end. Our professional staff are under-resourced, and some agencies have only one-third of the staff they had for mitigation and preparation work, because of budget cuts. 

These fires are now a national problem. They burn across borders and impact our national economy. They are unprecedented and a similar season cannot be allowed to begin again in 2020. We have grave concerns about the resourcing and budgets provided to our agencies 

The scale of these disasters and the scope of their impact demands a national response. There have been State inquiries into catastrophic fires before where recommendations remain unimplemented and it is difficult to now share resources across borders, as too many States and Territories are ablaze. 

Action is needed and a Royal Commission is a powerful mechanism to bring everyone together on a national basis, to shine a light on the shortfall across agencies and to develop the plans to address the crisis we confront. 

Delay could mean the loss of further life and property and we seek this Royal Commission as soon as possible so together, we can make sure Australians are protected in the future from fires like these. 

AWARD ALLOWANCE INCREASES 

Members are advised that on 27 November 2019, the South Australian Employment Tribunal handed down an order which increased the allowances under the Firefighting Industry Employee (South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service) Award 2007

The increase was applied to the following: 

  • Fire Training Department Assistant (clause 15.2) 
  • Officer in Charge – Shift Training Officer (clause 15.3) 
  • Training in Breathing Apparatus Use (clause 15.4) 
  • Change of Shift (clause 16.1.5) 

These allowances have been increased by 3% and the increase applies retrospectively from the first pay period on or after 1 July 2019. 

NEW RATES

  • Fire Training Department Assistant: $2.67 per shift or part thereof 
  • Officer in Charge – Shift Training Officer: $10.97 per shift cycle 
  • Training in Breathing Apparatus Use: $8.46 per shift 
  • Change of Shift: $29.06 (Senior Firefighter/Firefighters); $38.68 (Station Officers and Communication Officers); $48.46 (Commanders) payable on each occasion that an employee is required to change from one shift to another shift. 

Please check your payslips to make sure you are being paid the correct allowance rates.

PAYSLIPS 

Overpayment and underpayments are a consistent area of work for the Union. Unintentional human and machine errors do occur, and we strongly encourage members to keep your own records to ensure that payslips can be verified. 

If you have any concerns regarding your payslips, please raise it via your chain of command in the first instance and if the matter is not resolved, please contact the Union office on 08 8352 7211 or via email at info@ufusa.com.au. 

RALLY 

Members are advised of the ‘Adelaide Emergency Protest: Fund Firies, Demand Climate Action!’ Rally being held this Friday 10 January 2020 at the steps of Parliament House at 1700 hours. 

This Rally is being organised by the Uni Students for Climate Justice Group with the focus being to raise awareness and demand action from the Government for the funding of firefighters, provision of genuine relief and aid for affected communities, begin the immediate rapid transition away from fossil fuels and to ban drilling in the Great Australian Bight. 

Further information about the event can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/463381177884871/ 

In solidarity,

WELCOME TO 2020

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STATE COUNCIL ELECTRONIC BALLOT OPENED TODAY 

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United Fire Fighters Union Of South Australia - UFUSA

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