Consequent on the ratification of the Collective Agreement, the Agreement has now been signed.
The Union understands the new rates of pay will be implemented on the Payday 29 October (Pay 16) – and the backpay back to 1 July 2003 will also be paid that day. That backpay will include overtime worked since 1 July as well as any allowances claimed.
The majority in favour of ratification – over 92% was pleasing to Union officials. However, it is a fact that turnout was low and lower than desirable.
It is a fair conclusion however to assume a significant reason for that low turnout was that members were generally happy with the settlement. At many of the meetings members expressed their congratulations to the Union for delivering the settlement - a settlement that involves no loss of any conditions of employment.
As discussed at ratification meetings, the inclusion of various policies into the Agreement is a very significant achievement. These policies become legally enforceable in the Employment Authority/Court, and any changes to the contents of these policies must be negotiated and agreed with the Union. The policies include:
- Appointments Policy
- Review of Appointments Policy
- Transfers, Notifications of Vacancies & Appointments Policy
- Personnel Records Management Policy
- Leave for Fire Service Examinations Policy
- Entitlements, Processes & Authorisation when attending Fire Service Training Courses.
- Physical Competency Assessment (PCA Updates 12 March and 29 May 2003)
Arising out of the inclusion of these Policies into the Agreement, the Union is taking the matter of the basis of payment for time spent traveling to and from Training Courses to mediation.
The Agreement provides for the establishment of a number of Working Parties to deal with more complex issues in detail. These include:
- Training & Progression Project (TAPs)
Given that Training & Progression is explicitly provided for in the Agreement, any changes to the existing system will require a variation to the Agreement. This will require ratification by members. Until the Agreement is amended, the existing provisions continue – e.g. Phase Courses within the prescribed timeframes.
- Station Management System (SMS2)
Until the Working Party agrees on the basis of introduction of SMS2, the status quo continues. SMS2 is not extended to Stations not participating in the existing trial. The Committee has determined that the Union will not agree to implementation of SMS2 until membership endorsement is obtained – in effect the same as ratification.
- Cost Containment Project
This Working Party will look at achieving “efficiencies” of $500K within the overall operation of the Fire Service, but with particular focus on payroll and associated costs. The Union notes that this consideration cannot remove or reduce conditions of employment. Members are welcome and encouraged to make suggestions directly to the Union.
- Superannuation/Access to Total Remuneration Packages
This Working Party will further consider the proposal put by the Fire Service detailed in Newsletter No.13/2003.
- Communication Centres
This Working Party is to determine salary points (i.e. standardized pay rates) set around the following roles:
- Trainee Communicator
- Senior Communicator
- Shift Manager
Representatives from each Communication Centre will be involved in developing the Union’s position
The Agreement provides for an additional 1 days Service Leave after 14 years total service with the Fire Service.
Those people employed as at 1 July 2003 who have employment service with other organizations under 188.8.131.52 (a break in service of up to 1 month is allowed) have this service credited towards qualifying for Service Leave i.e. going to make up the 7 or 14 years service.
A new condition such as this can cause some confusion on implementation. Generally a person’s anniversary date for Service Leave is the same date as the anniversary of commencement with the Fire Service.
The following examples outline how the Union sees the implementation of the change for those people with 14 or more years service as at 1 July 2003.
a) Anniversary date before 1 July.
- Gets 1 extra days Service Leave (total 4 days) in this leave year, and then ongoing.
b) Anniversary date after 1 July.
- Gets 1 extra days Service Leave for the period 1 July until the anniversary date.
- When the anniversary date has already passed (e.g. 1 August 2003), this 1 extra day will be carried over to the next leave year.