AUXILIARY UPDATE : 22 JANUARY 2015

Charleville honours

Your union congratulates firefighters and communications officers who have been recognised for their exemplary contributions to community safety during the Charleville truck explosion and its aftermath. These individuals performed exceptional work in extremely challenging circumstances without any thought of personal recognition and they are a credit to the service and their communities.

In particular, we congratulate:

Lieutenants Peter Hackwood and Jake Sullivan from Charleville Station who were awarded a Commissioner’s Medal for Valour for performing an act of exceptional bravery in circumstances where there was a clear and significant risk to life.

Firefighters Nathan Thompson and Clinten McCarthy from Charleville station, who received the Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery in hazardous circumstances.

The following personnel who will receive the Commissioners’ Unit Citation for their outstanding professionalism in all of the circumstances:

·         Fire Communications Officer Leigh Murphy (Toowoomba Fire Comm)

·         Fire Communications Officer James Harris  (Toowoomba Fire Comm)

The following personnel who will receive the Assistant Commissioner Unit Commendations:-

·         Keith Blann                                                 (Charleville Command)

·         Timothy Higgins                                            (Cunnamulla Station)

·         Niam Branfield                                              (Cunnamulla Station)

·         Karl Girdler                                                   (Cunnamulla Station)

·         David White                                                  (Cunnamulla Station)

·         Ethan Capewell                                            (Cunnamulla Station) 

·         Bradley Lambourne                                                (Roma Station)

·         David Jones                                                            (Roma Station) 

·         Michael O’Brien                                                      (Roma Station)

·         Clinton Reid                                                        (Mitchell Station)

 ·         Stacey Turner                                                     (Mitchell Station)

Our congratulations to all of the above individuals.

A victory for your union in the Industrial Commission!

As recently reported the QIRC refused the application by the fire service to ‘strike out’ the unfair contracts case. Your union won the argument in the commission.

The QIRC released written reasons for the decision to refuse the fire service application.

The written decision summarises the fire service’s arguments that auxiliaries’ employment conditions are set by the fire service commissioner who can alter them at any time without the employee’s consent, and auxiliary firefighters have no capacity to bargain, agree or disagree with the employment conditions set by the fire commissioner. The fire service argued that the QIRC had no jurisdiction to decide whether auxiliary employment terms are fair or unfair and no power to amend your contracts of service.

The QIRC agreed with your union that if the case was ‘struck out’ we would be denied an opportunity to argue our case and have it determined. QIRC also agreed that, if an award was made at some future time, it could not compensate employees for any previous period of time where the QIRC may decide the employment conditions were unfair.

The QIRC decision is a victory against the fire service’s continual denial of a fair hearing for auxiliary firefighters. 

The fire service have appealed the decision to refuse their ‘strike out’ application. As always, the fire service are continuing to do everything they can to frustrate and delay auxiliary firefighters getting a fair go.

The fire service’s appeal against this latest decision has been set down to be heard in the industrial court for 27 April.  This presents difficulties because the unfair contracts case the fire service is trying to sabotage is being heard in February. In other words, the case they are still trying to ‘strike out’ will already have been heard by the time the appeal is heard.

We can expect further attempts from the fire service to stop the case going ahead and we will keep you posted.

In the meantime, we are expecting to hear from the fire service this week as to what award conditions they are prepared to agree to in an auxiliary award. We will keep you posted about that as well.

Here below is a link to the latest QIRC decision in our ongoing battle to win the respect of minimum standards for auxiliary firefighters.

http://ufuq.com.au/files/7214/2181/9770/Decision_B652014_210115.pdf

Australia day public holiday - 4 hour minimum starts

Remember that your union recently won you four hours starts for all work performed by auxiliary firefighters on public holidays.

This means that if you work on Australia Day you must be paid a minimum of four hours’ pay for the day.

Hours are paid at the new 2.2% higher rates applicable from 4th January 2015. Your union is still trying to win you fair public holiday penalty rates in an award.

Become a member of UFUQ and show your support

2014 saw many new members join or re-join UFUQ.  We need to increase our strength in 2015.

Become a member of your union to show you are standing with your auxiliary colleagues as we continue the fight to improve your employment conditions and wages.

As a member, you also have access to the many benefits of coverage you will receive from a registered industrial organisation.

If you are already a member of UFUQ, now is the time to discuss membership of your union with your auxiliary colleagues.

Existing members who refer new members will receive a new auxiliary UFUQ t-shirt in 2015, upon the new member becoming financial (one t-shirt per year for existing members).

Your union continues to send a strong and clear message to QFES and the government about your employment conditions.  We are showing them that we have the support of auxiliaries in our efforts to win fair employee conditions for you.

UFUQ needs your support now and will be there to support you should you ever need us!

Have a question or want to organise a station visit?

In 2014, UFUQ representatives visited almost 60 auxiliary stations.

No one but UFUQ can get, or is getting, to that many stations to talk to auxiliary firefighters about their individual, local station and state wide issues, not even QFES.

The plan for 2015 includes many more station visits.

Contact the state office if you would like to organise someone to discuss what the union is doing with members and potential members in a visit to your station.

Station visits can be done in person, via teleconference or via Skype.

The station visits can be done on training nights, or another night as arranged.  If we haven’t seen you, we hope to see you in 2015!

Auxiliary representatives

Auxiliaries are represented on the state committee of management of the union and there is a standing agenda item for an auxiliary update to be given at every union executive meeting.

You can contact the state office at any time to discuss membership, or any other matter affecting your employment.

The UFUQ has an industrial officer dedicated to assisting auxiliaries with all employment related matters, so if you have a work related question, contact the state office and you will receive the appropriate assistance.