COMMUNICATION Officers UPDATE - 05 MAY 2020
FIRE COMMUNICATIONS ROSTER PRINCIPLES
It is unfortunate that progress of this matter has been affected by both the bushfire events in the early part of the year and the COVID-19 restrictions on people being easily able to meet to work together.
However, despite the unprecedented circumstances, your union has sought a commitment from Fire and Rescue to progress this matter with urgency and I can confirm they are in complete agreement. All involved acknowledge that these delays were for the most part out of our control, but that it is important to complete the roster principles in a timely manner.
On Wednesday 29 April 2020, representatives of the UFUQ, Fire and Rescue and the Employee Relations Unit met to discuss the best way to progress this matter in the current circumstances, and I can report that the following outcomes were agreed –
• Given the current circumstances, completion of the project is not achievable by 6 May 2020 so it is reasonable for the timeframe for completion of the roster principles to be extended to 31 August 2020.
• Implementation of the roster principles and CA19 part time arrangements is to occur by no later than one month after this date, 30 September 2020.
• A meeting will be held on or around 19 May 2020 to further progress the content of the roster principles document.
• Firecom shift swap policies (which will address CA19 commitments at clause 104) will be developed as part of this process.
I will provide further updates to members as this project continues including opportunities for members to provide the UFUQ with input on particular issues that are being negotiated at the relevant time.
12 FCO POSITIONS
On 5 March 2020, the Commissioner wrote to the UFUQ regarding the Fire and Rescue proposal for the placement of the 12 FCO positions arising out of the Queensland Government 2017 election commitment.
In his correspondence, the Commissioner proposed that 7 of the 12 FCO positions be placed in Brisbane or South Eastern Region, and sought UFUQ endorsement for this to occur.
On 20 March 2020, the UFUQ advised the Commissioner that we were not in a position to endorse this proposal given no information had been provided regarding Fire and Rescue’s rationale for this proposal (other than their desired staffing model in each fire communications centre) and our understanding of the election commitment, specifically statements made by the Minister for Fire and Emergency Services that ‘these new officers will be deployed across regional Queensland’. We also requested data from the last 12 months regarding staffing issues like dropping of crewing levels, TORP, rejection of leave, meal breaks, inability to accommodate training and unanswered triple 0 calls to inform discussions.
Since we made this request, we have been in ongoing discussions with Fire and Rescue about the placement of the 12 FCO positions, including more adequately addressing the needs of regional fire communications centres, and I can report that discussions so far have been positive and Fire and Rescue have been willing to genuinely consider the UFUQ’s views before making their decision.
I will provide a further report to members when we know the outcome of Fire and Rescue’s decision.
In the meantime, as always, if you have any questions or concerns relating to fire communications matters please contact your State Committee of Management representative Tris Brougham at [email protected] or the union office on 07 3844 0366 or at [email protected].
John Oliver - General Secretary
Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD