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NSW Firefighters Special General Meeting June 2012

June 5, 2012

The Union’s State Committee of Management has resolved to call a Special General Meeting, with the final vote on each question to be declared pursuant to Rule 11(4)(d) at midday on 13 June at 1-7 Belmore Street, Surry Hills.

The State Committee has also resolved to hold only one Sydney meeting for this SGM in order to maximise members’ attendance at both this meeting and the Unions NSW rally against the O’Farrell Government’s workers comp cuts that will follow at 1230 hours that day. Similarly, there will be no Central Coast meeting and members stationed or residing within MN2 are encouraged to travel to either the Sydney or the Newcastle meeting.

The Sydney SGM will be held on Wednesday 13 June, commencing 1030 hrs at the Union Office meeting hall at 1-7 Belmore Street, Surry Hills (and prior to the workers comp rally to be held at 1230 hrs outside Parliament House).

The Newcastle Sub-Branch will meet on Wednesday 13 June commencing 1030 hrs at 260 Station, Newcastle (and prior to the workers comp rally to be held at 1230 hrs at Civic Park, Newcastle).

The Illawarra Sub-Branch will meet onWednesday 13 June commencing 1030 hrsat 503 Station, Wollongong(and prior to the workers comp rally to be held at 1230 hrs at Wollongong Mall).

Retained and Country Sub-Branch members may meet locally at any time between 1800 hrs on Friday 8 June and 1000 hrs on Wednesday 13 June provided that written notice of intention to hold a meeting together with the proposed time, date and location is received by the Union office by no later than 1500 hrs on Friday 8 June.

Members outside Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong who can’t attend a rally on 13 June 2012 are encouraged to:

1.       Call their local MP that day to express their opposition to any cuts in workers comp;

2.       Visit NSWforALL.org.au and sign the petition and email their MP;

3.       Call local radio about the issue.

Darin Sullivan
Acting State Secretary

SGM AGENDA

  • Apologies
  • State Secretary’s report
  • Motions on notice (x3)

 1.       From the State Committee re: Secondary employment policy

“That the Department’s correspondence to the Union dated 30 March 2012 proposing a Secondary Employment policy for FRNSW employees which would require members to gain approval from the Department in order to engage in any other employment be received together with the Union’s response to the Department dated 5 April 2012 and that the Department’s proposal be resisted on the grounds that it is invasive and an unwarranted impost on members’ privacy and that while questioning the need for such a policy, this meeting resolves that any such secondary employment policy that is introduced should instead require members to self declare their secondary employment only if it falls outside of the yet to be negotiated policy guidelines which would indicate what might constitute a potential conflict of interest.”

State Committee of Management recommendation: SUPPORT

2.       From the State Committee re: Incident meals and refreshments

“That the Department’s correspondence to the Union dated 21 March 2012 concerning its proposed Incident Ground Refreshments and Meals policy, including its intention that refreshments provided under both the Permanent and Retained Awards would no longer include tea, coffee or biscuits on the spurious grounds that ‘the Award makes no reference to an obligation to provide firefighters with tea, coffee or biscuits’ be received and rejected on the grounds that:

a)       tea, coffee and biscuits have been provided, without controversy or dispute, as fireground refreshments for longer than anyone alive can remember; and

b)       the provision of fireground refreshments and meals has always been more than simply a question of ‘the health and safety of firefighters whilst performing their functions on an incident ground by ensuring their energy levels are maintained and they are appropriately hydrated’, as now asserted by management, it has also involved the amenity, comfort and wellbeing of firefighters in otherwise extremely hostile (ie, freezing cold or excessively hot, wet, dark, exposed, dirty and universally dangerous) work environments which few if any other workers in this state would be permitted – let alone expected – to work in and therefore, at an absolute bare minimum, the provision of a hot beverage; and

c)       the Department’s continued pattern of concerted attacks upon long-standing industrial arrangements and Award conditions are such that if it is not this relatively minor matter upon which we as a Union draw a line and say ‘enough’, then it will shortly be some other dispute and that a firm stance need be taken in this instance in order to restore some stability and balance to industrial relations within FRNSW;

and in consideration of same, this meeting directs that in the event that the Department has not conceded that the provision of Award refreshments and meals must include the provision of tea, coffee and biscuits by the time of the State Committee of Management meeting to be held on 28 June, then the Union’s officials are to that day determine and impose such bans and limitations as that meeting thinks fit and further, that once imposed, these bans and limitations are not be removed unless and until such time as the Department does concede this position or a further General Meeting of members directs otherwise.”

State Committee of Management recommendation: SUPPORT

3.       From the State Committee re: Government’s attack on workers compensation

“That this meeting notes the inquiry into the NSW Workers Compensation Scheme currently underway and the apparent intentions of the O’Farrell Government to:

  • remove workers compensation coverage for trips to and from work;
  • reduce weekly payments to injured workers after 13 weeks (currently 26 weeks);
  • stop weekly payments for most injured workers after 2 ½ years;
  • stop medical payments for most injured workers after 2 ½ years;
  • stop partners of those killed at work being compensated for nervous shock;
  • stop lump sum payments for pain and suffering; and
  • exclude stroke and heart attack claims;

and further notes that Treasury Managed Fund (the Department’s insurer) has in its submission to this inquiry both supported each of the above recommendations and referred to our Death and Disability and workers compensation top-up arrangements and therefore resolves to, firstly, endorse and continue the FBEU’s support for the Unions NSW campaign against these detrimental reforms and secondly, to proceed directly from this meeting to the protest rallies being held today in Newcastle, Wollongong and central Sydney and thirdly, to direct the State Committee to call an urgent Special General Meeting within 24 hours should the Government confirm an intention to erode or remove firefighters’ existing workers compensation top-up entitlements and/or Death and Disability Award benefits, with the first item on the agenda of that Special General Meeting being to convert the meeting to a stop-work meeting of on-duty members.”

State Committee of Management recommendation: SUPPORT

  • Meeting close
About Darin Sullivan (1968 Articles)
President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union and a professional firefighter with more than 25 years’ experience. Father of two daughters, he lives and works on the NSW South Coast, Australia. He is a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around him. He is a Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and works with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist he has long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. Now a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and has decades of experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. He is passionate about highlighting the impact climate change is having on fire preparedness and fire behaviour in Australia, and the risks associated with inaction on climate change. Darin is also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.
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