NSW Rural Fire Service member update
Your union and delegates have been busy working on a number of issues on behalf of members. Below is a brief update on the main issues currently affecting members.
The Award Bargaining Team has completed the initial negotiation process agreeing on a number of principles that cover RFS industrial matters. These principles are in line with member feedback. Initial modelling and costing work has been completed based on sample work locations. The modelling is to be expanded to cover the whole of the RFS.
The RFS released an Award Update on 20 May 2019. This update contains information that is inaccurate and has not been agreed to by the PSA. The agreed position was that once modelling and costing were completed that a full Award would be drafted. Once the Award has been drafted then it would be circulated to members for their comment. Remember, only PSA members can vote on the Award.
The PSA views the RFS diversion from the agreed process as a stalling tactic and as such will be seeking the assistance of the IRC to expedite the process. Furthermore, the NSW Public Wages Policy allows for increases of up to 2.5 per cent of employee-related costs. Increases above 2.5 per cent can only be considered where sufficient employee-related cost savings have been achieved to fully offset the increased employee-related costs.
The PSA wrote to the RFS regarding PFAS and current firefighting foams. For full details you can read the letter HERE. To date, no information has been provided by the RFS. The PSA will update members as developments occur.
A meeting was held with the RFS on 4 April 2019 to discuss issues with the proposed Travel Policy. It was evident from the meeting that the RFS is not willing to move from its position and it is reliant on its interpretation of the Crown Award. The RFS is stating by providing a Corporate Visa Card, it is meeting the intent of Clause 26.8.1, that it is paying the accommodation provider. This differs from a long standing custom and practice, the PSA is investigating this matter further and will update members accordingly.
There are number of current restructures and realignments occurring in the RFS at the moment including Operations Directorate, ICT, Corporate Communications and Learning and Development. The RFS has been reminded by the IRC of the correct consultation process that must occur with your union and employees. With all restructures and reviews the PSA advocates for no job cuts, maintenance of members current grades, redeployment opportunities and that forced relocations are accommodated under the Transferred Officers Award.
Operations Communications Centre
The RFS is continuing to move districts on to central dispatch, members within the OCC have raised a number of concerns in relation to staffing, rostering and the current systems and process not being sufficient to handle the additional districts and workflows. The PSA supports the migration of districts to central dispatch and ultimately radios being removed from members’ homes. However, this should be done in a measured and calculated manner with appropriate resources. As such, the PSA will be writing to the RFS requesting a plan as to how the OCC is going to be managed into the future. The plan should include staffing and rostering arrangements, timelines and transition to an independent call centre as committed to by the NSW Government. Members will be updated as the plan is made available.
Departmental Committee elections
In the near future Departmental Committee (DC) elections will occur to elect workplace delegates. The current DC encourages all members to consider what they have to offer in being a workplace delegate. Special Leave is available to attend PSA training in a number of areas for delegates and members, if you would like to know more about the role of a delegate then please contact your nearest delegate on the details below.
What you can do
- Ask a work colleague to join the PSA today
- Make the union strong by forwarding this bulletin to your colleagues
- Attend PSA meetings at your worksite
- Get involved, become a PSA delegate
Not a member? Join online at Not a member?
Join today: https://psa.asn.au/join/
Your PSA staff:
Ben Trainor – PSA Industrial Officer
Glenn Duncan – PSA Organiser