Bulletin No:          007                                     Volume:  20                        Tuesday 16 January 2014

To All UFU Members




At late night negotiations before the Fair Work Commission, which concluded at 11.30pm last night, the UFU and the MFB have reached a resolution to address capacity concerns resulting from the short-term extreme weather event that Victoria is currently experiencing.

Yesterday afternoon the MFB filed an application in the Fair Work Commission attempting to claim the UFU had threatened industrial action and were attempting to prevent extra appliances being commissioned.

This application was made even though the UFU had requested an urgent meeting of experts to resolve any outstanding issues that had been determined through the consultative process.

At the hearing the UFU emphatically denied there had been any threat or indication of any unprotected action.

The hearing was adjourned almost immediately so that the parties could meet to discuss the issues.

As a result the following practical solutions were reached and the MFB withdrew their application.

These measures only apply until noon Saturday 18 January 2014 as a result of the current heatwave and the concern there were inadequate resources to meet the demands.                                                                                                                                                  

1. The MFB has formally assured the UFU on record in the Commission that nine new appliances (fire trucks) that they wish to bring into service will only be deployed when those appliances meet the requirements for being fully commissioned for operational purposes;

2. Those nine appliances’ governor will only be used in manual mode and not in automatic mode;

3. As a safety back-up those nine appliances will not be deployed to adjacent stations at first instance, and the MFB will use its best endeavours to ensure those nine appliances are co-responded with an appliance currently commissioned. This is to ensure that should there be any issues with the new appliances (e.g. foam) a second appliance is on scene.

Training for the Electronic Stability Programme for these new appliances will commence from tomorrow morning for the staff necessary to crew the new appliances.

The UFU has reserved all its rights including the right to raise any concerns about the training provided.

Members will be aware that on Monday the MFB raised a proposal to extend EMR capabilities beyond current arrangements due to the possible medical implications resulting from the heatwave. That original proposal included deployment of firefighters in cars for EMR calls only.

The proposal to use cars is not proceeding.

The position reached by agreement late last night is a practical resolution to have additional capacity provided with the nine appliances are fully commissioned for full operational use and ensuring firefighters are only deployed in fully commissioned appliances.

As stated, these measures are only in place until noon Saturday after which operations will return to normal.

Strength in Unity


Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary