CODE 2, VOL 34, NO 14 : 27 March 2020
FIREFIGHTERS HANDING OUT FORMS AT AIRPORTS – IMPORTANT UPDATE
As with all matters COVID19, things are moving quickly.
I am yet to receive any contact from the Commissioner or any other representative of Fire and Rescue. This is a deliberate decision by QFES senior management to exclude your union from the discussion on this matter.
I am causing action to be taken through lodgement of a dispute at the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission today to force Fire and Rescue to consult as they are required to do by (for example, the Queensland workplace health and safety legislation, the industrial relations legislation, and of course your award and certified agreement).
I have been made aware by members that it appears requests for you to do the work at airports are still being sent out.
My advice to all members on doing this work is as follows –
1. If you are on days off and receive a request to attend the airport to hand out forms – do not reply.
2. If you are at work and are requested to do the work – reply saying you would prefer not to do the work as you consider it may put you at risk of illness.
3. If you are at work and are instructed (this is likely a lawful instruction) to attend the airport - comply with the instruction.
4. No matter which of the three circumstances above occur, immediately inform the UFUQ of what has occurred at [email protected].
As you are no doubt aware, COVID19 is a health and safety risk for you as workers. Fire and Rescue therefore have a clear obligation to so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure your health and safety. Fire and Rescue are therefore required to (in this matter and always) provide (at minimum) PPC, and adequate information, training, instruction and supervision that is necessary to protect you from risk of exposure to COVID19 while you are working.
Whilst the new legislation relating to emergency powers provides for QFES involvement, I remain concerned that there are much better solutions than sending in professional firefighters to do this work, given the implications if those involved are removed from operational response later on due to quarantine or infection. And those emergency powers do not supersede the health and safety obligations your employer has.
I am continuing to seek further assurances that in the first instance, no UFUQ members will be required to perform this work again.
I have also sought input from crews who have already been involved in the work, to ascertain the actual conditions and QFES management of the situation.
And finally, I have informed the Commissioner that I expect these sorts of decisions to include your union from now on (as they are being decided, not after), according to Fire and Rescue’s obligations. However, I’ve received no contact whatsoever.
As I mentioned at the start of this update, I am ensuring a dispute is lodged today at the industrial commission to drag Fire and Rescue into actually consulting on this matter.
This behaviour is changing your union’s position on working with the Minister’s office, Fire and Rescue and QFES and will have lasting implications for those involved.
I will report back to you as soon as I know more.
AURION FAILURES – UPDATE
The UFUQ Code 2 (Vol 34 No:12) dated 25 March 2020 provided some detail on your union’s activity relating to addressing the ongoing failures of QFES to fix the very expensive but very flawed Aurion pay system.
In that Code 2, we provided the contact details of the individual from within the QFES public service who is the UFUQ’s contact for payroll problems.
QFES have advised that if you have payroll and/or payslip problems (and it’s likely you will), please email your situation/questions and any evidence you can provide to this email address: [email protected]
I ask that you keep your records of your email interactions relating to your matter for when QFES can’t fix the problems and you require your union to step in.
John Oliver - General Secretary
Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD