CODE 2, VOL 36, NO 5 : 04 march 2022
UFUA requires an administrator to continue to function
You may have recently heard of a federal court case brought by the UFUA to appoint an administrator to run its affairs.
To better understand this case and the underlying issues, you first need to know that the UFUA is not the UFUQ nor associated with the UFUQ.
Also to be clear the UFUQ is not in administration and remains financially strong with elected officials providing industrial representation to members across Queensland.
About the UFUQ
The UFUQ is a union registered in the Queensland Industrial System and operates only in Queensland.
As a Firefighter or Communications Officer, you are employed by the Queensland Government and the industrial laws that apply to you sit entirely within the Queensland Industrial System. The UFUQ is the only union that is permitted to provide you with complete union coverage in the Queensland Industrial System.
No other organisation can appear in the QIRC on industrial/employment matters for Firefighters or Communications officers.
About the UFUA
The UFUA is an entirely separate organisation run out of Victoria. It is registered in the Commonwealth Industrial System.
As a Firefighter or Communications Officer you are not, and have never been, in the Commonwealth Industrial System. The UFUA has no presence in the Queensland Industrial System.
It is the UFUA, in so far as it’s Queensland Branch is concerned, that has had an administrator appointed.
About the UFUA application
The officers of the UFUA in Queensland all resigned in 2019 significantly due to their concern that they could not be officers of both the UFUQ and the UFUA and that the UFUA had no presence in the Queensland Industrial System. On a practical, day to day, basis the UFUA was considered irrelevant.
To attempt to resurrect the UFUA in Queensland, the UFUA have appointed an administrator. The court case related to this. The UFUQ intervened in the court case to protect your membership and your exposure to further membership fees. Particularly the UFUQ emphasized that there should not be a fee imposed on persons participating in the UFUA for past membership and fees for future membership should be fully disclosed.
The administrator, who is not a firefighter, is now solely responsible for decision making of the UFUA in Queensland - including the setting of membership fees. One of his earliest jobs will no doubt be the setting of the membership fee for persons who are going to participate in the UFUA.
I believe the UFUQ achieved its goal of protecting against fees being imposed for past membership and there is every expectation that the administrator will not impose a fee for any past membership.
The UFUQ will also take the steps necessary to ensure disclosure is made as to what future fees will have to be paid by persons who want to participate in the UFUA.
More to come:
This matter is complex. The UFUQ has, and will, take all appropriate steps to safeguard its members financial interests.
I will provide further updates as they become available.
John Oliver - General Secretary
Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD