Bulletin No:          026                     Volume:  21               Thursday 19 February 2015


Two Day Delegate Training Workshop Outcomes

On the 17th and 18th of February the UFU held a delegate training workshop  which 120 UFU members attended.

Delegates were addressed by the Minister for Emergency Services, Jane Garrett, the Minister for Industrial Relations, Natalie Hutchinson and the Member for Frankston, Paul Edbrooke. After the address from the Ministers a question and answer session was facilitated to gain a better understanding of the governments needs and the concerns of UFU members.

The Delegates workshop also foreshadowed the requirement for a number of general membership meetings to inform members of the outcomes of the delegates training workshop.

The workshop/training session reviewed the activities over the last four years as well as developments in contemporary law that effect UFU members.

As a result a comprehensive work plan for the next 12 months has been developed this consists but was not limited to the following items:

  1. Finalise EBA for CFA and MFB Ops
  2. Finalise PTA EBA
  3. Finalise Private FF EBA
  4. Finalise ESTA EBA
  5. Commence MFB Corp EBA
  6. Implement ongoing secondment
  7. Ensure recruitment of 450 + Federal Court outcome
  8. Ensure presumptive legislation is brought into effect
  9. Implement Board of Reference
  10. Ensure EMR is rolled out across CFA
  11. Ensure members views are heard via Parliamentary inquiry into Fiskville
  12. Ensure adequate crewing is dealt with across CFA and MFB
  13. Ensure members views are heard in Fire Services review
  14. Implement Fire Ops 101
  15. Implement media plan
  16. Implement imbedded Community Awareness Programs
  17. Implement revised delegate structure
  18. UFU building re-development
  19. UFU annual ball
  20. Implement improvements to assist with PTSD in Fire Services
  21. Ensure all of the Fire Service Levy is being provided to the fire services
  22. Ensure all agreements are honoured by the employers
  23. Ensure that the Retired Members Division of the Union commences.

Content which was discussed at the workshop included:

  • State Election Outcomes:

The UFU in conjunction with Trades Hall successfully ran a campaign to oust the Napthine Government. The campaign revealed that fire-fighter political capital when mobilised has the ability to change governments and that the UFU’s campaign was instrumental in defeating the Napthine government.

  • Time Frame for ALP Commitments:

Delegates were informed of the status of the Election promises around the fire service the ALP made prior to the election. We are already seeing progress on these commitments with 8 recruit courses scheduled this year and all commitments are expected to be delivered by the end of 2018. The new Emergency Services Minister, Jane Garrett, addressed the delegates and reinforced the cooperative relationship that the UFU and the Andrews Government currently share.

  • The Full Bench of the Federal Court Decision:

The recruits case decision was a landmark decision that has established a precedent in constitutional law that has wide reaching effects across the entire public sector. The Unanimous decision which found in favour of the UFU means the CFA has no choice but to honour their commitments in the 2010 EBA. Many other Unions will benefit from this decision and indeed many larger Unions had not run this case due to its size and complexity. The UFU is proud of its members and legal team in being a trail blazer in pursuing this matter against great odds.

  • UFU’s Finances

Whilst the new State Government coming to power means that the endless stream of litigation has stopped there was considerable damage done to the UFU’s finances during the last four years. The cost of mopping up several large cases as well as bargaining is still ongoing and it will be a while before the damage to our resources has been repaired. There is no need to panic but in accordance with good governance policies the Union is still financial viable but it is important repair our finances in case a conservative government is elected in 2018. After extensive discussion and presentation from financial consultants Delegates unanimously reaffirmed the need to continue the litigation levy in order to achieve this outcome. Members will be informed of the details in the near future.  

  • Fiskville Inquiry

The delegates were informed that the CFA had known about the contaminated water at Fiskville for Decades. Mick Tisbury provided quotes from 14 separate reports from 1988 – 2012 which all concluded that Dams 1 & 2 at Fiskville were contaminated and posed an unacceptable risk to firefighters exposed to them. Delegates also discussed how we can ensure the ongoing health and safety of our employees is not compromised and strategies to make those responsible accountable. Members are encouraged to fill out the form contained in Bulletin #025 you have attended Fiskville.

  • UFU Delegate Structure

The UFU delegate structure will undergo some maintenance to fill holes that have come up over the last four years. In addition to this elections will be run to elect Deputy shop Stewards to prepare younger members to succeed Shop stewards who are coming up to retirement. The UFU will also be creating the new role of Media Representative to in each CFA District and MFB Zone. More training will be provided for all delegates as well as a comprehensive training package being developed.

  • Bargaining

The change of Government has led to a shift in the tactics and attitudes of the CFA and MFB in bargaining. The Hostile tactics which the organisations employed prior to the election were initially replaced by a lack of clear direction from both agencies. Through the pressure the UFU has applied we have managed to schedule regular bargaining meetings twice a week with both organisations from now until the EBA’s are completed. Delegates endorsed the resolution of bargaining to be a priority in the work plan.

 In conclusion the two Delegate training Workshop was considered to be extremely successful and proactive in educating delegates on contemporary law changes, planning for the future and enhancing the service to members.

Regular membership meetings will be held to facilitate the dissemination of information and give effect to the above.

Strength in Unity


Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary