The Local writes to inform members that a situation has arisen, due to over-hiring of staff, where some watches at some stations may be rostered with an Officer and four Firefighters. In the event of this occurring, the Union advises that the following is to apply.
If the extra member is required to cover an absence at another station and has not received fourteen days’ notice of that movement, then they will report for duty to their usual station and will move to the relieving station after start of shift.
The employer will be responsible for moving the member from their station at start of shift and returning them to their usual station by end of shift. Obviously, if you are at the station awaiting the arrival of the relieving Firefighter, you are not necessarily required to be held back. However, the Union’s view is that we should always endeavour to maintain Minimum Shift Manning of an Officer and three Firefighters. If you do hang back for the arriving Firefighter, you are, of course, entitled to claim overtime for the extra period you spend on-duty.
If there is no absence available for a particular shift, then the Officer will approach Area Management to ensure that there is a complete, fifth set of protective equipment, as normally provided on an appliance, for the extra Firefighter. This includes a PSS5000 B.A. Set, as the extra member is on duty as a Firefighter and is to be utilised as such. This matter was raised with Acting National Commander Paul McGill and he agreed with the Union’s position, on both operational and Health and Safety grounds.
In determining which member is required to move from their usual station for a particular shift, it is the Union’s view that this primarily be a recruit in the “last on-first off” principle. It should not fall to the Officer of the watch to make a determination as to which member has to leave their normal position for a shift.