The Union is advised that the Employment Relations Authority has now forwarded the Fire Service’s statement to those persons the alleged overpayment was made to.
Interestingly, the numbers involved has been reduced to 312 members.
The Union repeats its advice to members as in Notice to Members No 18 – 18 September 2008:
The Union’s advice is that this is an unusual way to proceed such a claim. The Fire Service Commission’s application is self-explanatory, although significantly misleading.
As members know, the backpay resulting from the ratification of the existing C.A. was made as a lump sum. The Fire Service did not break down the individual components of the backpay. Consequently no one was in any position to determine what date the Officership Allowance was backdated to.
The F.S.C. has still not provided that breakdown so as to establish whether the error they allege has in fact occurred.
In any event, the F.S.C.’s application, when forwarded to the named members, will also include a form for a reply to the application, within the prescribed timeframe – 14 days from receipt of the application.
If you wish to object to the application, you must reply within the timeframe. It would be likely that any reply would include the following:
Your view of the matter:
- No such debt has occurred.
Your view of the relevant facts:
- The backpay received was a lump sum and not broken down into its component parts.
- There was no way I could determine when the Officership Allowance was backdated to.
- Apart from being told by the Fire Service that the Fire Service backdated the Officership Allowance to 1 January 2007, the Fire Service has provided no information that establishes this.
- The backpay was received in good faith and I am entitled to believe the Fire Service calculated it correctly.
- In any event, the backpay was received 12 months ago and it has been spent.
Documents to be supplied:
- If you still have the backpay pay slip, this could be attached.
- Tick the no box.
Other steps taken:
- It may be you have responded to the Fire Service previously offering a repayment method, if so, this could be referred to
Why have you not used mediation?
- You were not aware that this was an option, but you are happy to go to mediation at a convenient time/locality.
Obviously 312 persons replying to the Authority along these lines, and each indicating a willingness to attend mediation for their specific case will cause some administrative/logistical issues and no doubt these will need to be clarified before any mediations are organized.
The Union will provide further information to affected members as details of what the Employment Relations Authority intends to do are received.
If further assistance is necessary at this time, please contact a National Committee member.