CODE 2, VOL 34, NO 57 : 30 october 2020

YEAH… BUT WHAT HAS THE UNION EVER DONE FOR US?

Just in case some of you haven’t been paying attention to communications from your state office, your state committee, your branch representatives and your colleagues, here is a brief list of some of the achievements relating to your terms and conditions of employment your union (the UFUQ) have obtained for you in the last six years –

Benefits implemented through CA16 & CA19 –
• CA16 saw introduction of many new entitlements, such as the re-introduction for the first time in many years of pay points for all ranks, as well as Tech Rescue allowances, BA Hazmat allowances, Fire Investigator allowances, FFF & RAAP payments, we obtained superannuation on your 38 hour week allowance, and we obtained travel time payments for training.
• CA19 locked down a significant number of your terms and conditions of employment, and again added to pay points, along with providing significant gains for fire communications (roster principles and part-time provisions which are about to commence, and application of the casual conversion directive), and also saw gains through improved deployment conditions, the instructors allowance, a JEMS review of live fire which is due to commence early 2021, establishing a list of critical policies now required to be developed, that were absent prior to CA19 starting, and so much more (with over 75% of our log of claims items successfully being implemented in CA19).

Broader strategic gains –
• Entirely eliminating temporary firefighters from professional firefighter stations.
• Expansion of professional stations (Coolum, Emerald, Port Douglas, Dalby, Kingaroy, Charlton and Pimpama with many switching from AFF to full-time professional firefighters, and Warwick reverting back to 10/14).
• Obtaining presumptive workers’ compensation laws for many types of cancer.
• Working with the state government to introduce a Bill to parliament for presumptive workers’ compensation laws for PTSI.
• Establishing the Safe Crewing Task Force, which will throughout the next 9 months, be ramped up with your union intending to visit every single work location where members are rostered.
• Obtained full funding for 147 additional professional firefighters and an increase of 12 FTE for fire communication officers, all of which have been introduced to QFRS.
• Obtained further funding for an additional 357 professional firefighters across the next 5 years, with more to be announced to fill new stations coming on line during that period.
• New stations announced for Caloundra South, Mt Cotton and North Lakes.
• Stations planned for and hopefully announced soon for Augustine Heights (Greater Springfield) and Yarrabilba and a new aerial crew for Maroochydore.
• We also anticipate the expansion of Highfields and Beerwah to 5 day professional stations.
• Approximately 250 additional firefighters to be recruited for additional rostering at existing stations and other work locations to increase capacity for full and safe crewing at every opportunity.
• Making submissions to multiple state and federal draft Bills and a Royal Commission to ensure the lawmakers consider the point of view of firefighters and fire communication officers.

Other achievements –
• Working to ensure the GWN faults were exposed, and now working to bring back analogue options in emergency situations.
• Working to kill off the failed PSBA and to bring back essential roles to QFES and QFRS.
• Reinstating the 17.5% annual leave loading to you, for the first time since the 1990’s.
• Squashing the plan to close most fire communication centres under the ‘Gate 3’ proposal.
• Fully updating the award to reflect your actual working conditions, ensuring rest and recline, the 10/14 roster, your rotating leave roster and so much more were written into your award.
• A return to Fire and Rescue badging, uniforms and insignia (to commence roll-out in early 2021).
• Multiple member’s personal issues resolved in their favour (these cannot be reported, but there are many of them).
• Many matters lodged at the industrial commission settled in favour of you and your colleagues on almost every single occasion.
• Constant ongoing work amongst the state office industrial officers and your elected officials to protect and enhance your terms and conditions of employment.

I have no doubt that when you discuss these achievements, you and your colleagues will quickly think of more to add to this list.

Your membership of the UFUQ continues to provide you and your colleagues with multiple financial benefits and employment security in tough economic and industrially challenging times.

It promises to be an incredible period of growth between now and 2024, and I’ll report back to you in much more detail on where to from here before the end of the year.

John Oliver - General Secretary 

Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary 
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD