This bulletin is to update members on the most recent Award discussions with management.
The PSA and the Rural Fire Service (RFS) met once more on 26 October to discuss the Rural Fire Service Award. We were advised at the meeting that there had been no response yet from the Government’s Wages Policy Taskforce (WPT) which was disappointing. The employer requires approval from the WPT before being able to further progress on those matters previously discussed between the parties over many months. The usual process is for the employer to seek bargaining parameters from the WPT in advance of discussions.
The PSA has repeatedly sought that the parties begin drafting what may be considered non-contentious clauses of the Award whilst awaiting the WPT response. Management advised that it is not allowed to do so as this would breach WPT policy.
The PSA is fully aware of our members’ frustration at the length of this process. We need to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The PSA advised management that whilst the parties could not control the process stemming from the WPT, in particular the date in which they got back to us, we could structure a timetable/template from that point to the end. This would include briefings of staff, consideration of feedback stemming from those briefings, the structuring of clauses, the ballot of PSA members on the final version and (if approved by the membership) the lodging of a consent Award with the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC).
Management accepted this as a way forward and it is intended to formulate the timeline at our next meeting on 12 November.
You will note the reference to a ballot being of members of the PSA only. The parties to this Award will be the employer and the union. The union is the employee representative body as recognised by the NSW Industrial Relations Act. To take an award to the IRC by consent the PSA determines to do so via the mandate of its members. Non-members are unable to participate in the ballot. The PSA and its delegates put a lot of time and resources into these processes. It is only fair that those who pay membership fees are the ones entitled to vote.
We welcome other RFS employees to join at www.psa.asn.au/join.
A further update will be provided following the next meeting.