The Legal Action is based on what is the correct interpretation of Clause 10 (b) of the Bargaining Process Agreement.
“If bargaining ceases to make progress then the parties will, prior to giving notice of, or taking industrial action, attend mediation providing that the mediation can occur within a reasonable timeframe (a reasonable timeframe would normally be considered to be 14 days). The parties will agree on the mediation service and mediator to be used, and on the issues to be discussed.”
(Note specifically the words underlined)
The Union sees the meaning of these words as quite clear. Mediation must occur before giving notice or before taking industrial action.
After all, this is simply what the words say.
The Fire Service (or someone in the Fire Service) believes these words mean the parties must attend mediation prior to giving notice and prior to taking industrial action.
Quite how that interpretation can be arrived at is a mystery.
Indeed even Larry Cocker, the Fire Service’s only witness, agreed in cross‐examination and reexamination that the Union’s interpretation was correct.
However, as advised yesterday, the case took the full day to hear and the Judge advised he hopes to give a decision by 5pm on Friday.
This delay, based on such grounds as outlined above, is both very frustrating and also simply delays the settlement of the dispute.