Bulletin No:          016                                     Volume:  20                        Friday 24 January 2014



Today, the UFU filed an application with the Fair Work Commission for a Protected Action Ballot Order in support of ESTA member’s campaign for a fair EBA.

This ballot will seek members to vote on proposed industrial actions which will include a re-ballot of the previous industrial action all previously approved by members and the following new actions:

  • Ban on using the ESTA email system, excluding the sending and receiving of union material.
  • Employees will set up an automated out of office reply function on their ESTA email which will state the following “This email has not been read and will not be responded to because I am taking protected industrial action in support of a fair enterprise agreement for ESTA operational employees. We answer the Victorian community’s calls for help every day, it’s time someone listens to us and ESTA treat their employees with the respect we deserve and agree to fair terms and conditions of employment- to support our campaign please visit www.firecrisis.com.au – Strength in Unity”.
  • Employees to conclude radio transmissions as appliances return to stations with union messages including but not limited to phrases such as “strength in unity” or with short updates regarding industrial matters.
  • Ban on using and/or updating the workforce management system.
  • On receipt of an “under control” and/or “stop” word back fire radio dispatchers will re-enter all event types as type 624 in the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system.
  • Employees will display campaign, industrial and/or union material on ESTA work premises and property including on ESTA workstations.
  • Employees will use the Country Fire Authority non-emergency circuit of the emergency alerting pager system to send campaign and/or industrial messages.
  • Fire operators operating a Country Fire Authority channel will not operate more than one channel simultaneously unless those channels are patched. Operators directed to operate more than one channel simultaneously will patch those channels.
  • Ban on undertaking reception duties.
  • Ban on including the reason for a false alarm in the word back or situation report.
  • Ban on answering phone calls diverted from reception.
  • Ban on opening and closing front and rear gates.
  • Ban on the use of Excel.

Should the Commission grant the order, a ballot of UFU members will be held again for the industrial action to be approved.

The current industrial action as it stands remains in place.

If the protected action ballot is successful (which is expected) members will be advised prior to escalation of industrial action.

In order to allow UFU members to put in place further industrial action in support of your campaign the ballot will need to receive a majority “YES” vote from UFU ESTA members and at least 50% + 1 of members must return a ballot.

This means it is imperative that members vote in this ballot if you want your voice to be heard.

The UFU is seeking this ballot of employees for further industrial action after ESTA’s proposed enterprise agreement was voted down by employees this week and negotiations have recommenced.

We remind members that in order to receive a ballot for protected industrial action should the FWC approve the UFU’s application members will need to ensure that their current home address is up to date with both the UFU and ESTA. We therefore suggest that you contact both the UFU and the relevant ESTA department ASAP to ensure we have your correct details before a vote.

Further, this ballot will only be of UFU members and if the ballot is granted and successful only UFU members will be able to participate in the industrial action.

Also, yesterday, the Union bargaining representatives met with the new ESTA bargaining team to recommence discussions.

At this meeting the UFU clearly reiterated its position that we are seeking a speedy resolution to the outstanding matters between the parties.

The UFU also indicated that it would likely be prepared to endorse an agreement to go to a vote of employees if 3 major issues were resolved to members’ satisfaction:

  1. Movement to level 4  for Call Takers is not artificially restricted in the EBA (i.e. the MFB/CFA Call Taking issue);
  2. Removal of ESTA’s unilaterally proposed competency assessment for movement from Level 2 to level 3;
  3. An increase to the sign on bonus for all employees to $1750.

The ESTA bargaining team has indicated that they will discuss this proposal and respond. A further bargaining meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday 29 January 2014.

Further, as previously advised the UFU will be holding members meetings at Tally Ho and Ballarat over the coming fortnight. Times and dates will be confirmed shortly.

In the meantime if members have any queries please do not hesitate to contact your local delegate or UFU Industrial Officer Rini Krouskos on 9419 8811.


Strength in Unity


Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary