Rural Fire Service award review

Rural Fire Service award review – September 2018 (PDF version)

The PSA and RFS continue to work through the award negotiation process. So far items covered are employee classifications, work hours, allowances and Major Incident conditions.

Further meetings are scheduled to reach agreed principles in relation to allowances and shift work.

The PSA will continue to utilise the Industrial Relations Commission to ensure that the award is reviewed, modernised and implemented.

Working additional hours

The RFS Award permits staff being required to work additional hours, but only if it is reasonable for the staff member to do so.

A staff member may refuse to work additional hours in circumstances where the working of such hours would result in the staff member working unreasonable hours.

In determining what is unreasonable, the following factors shall be taken into account:

  • the staff member’s prior commitments outside the workplace, particularly the staff member’s family and carer responsibilities, community obligations or study arrangements
  • any risk to staff member’s health and safety, including working continuously without a break
  • the urgency of the work required to be performed during additional hours, the impact on the operational commitments of the organisation and the effect on client services
  • the notice (if any) given by the Commissioner regarding the working of the additional hours, and by the staff member of their intention to refuse the working of additional hours, or
  • any other relevant matter.

It is your right to refuse to work additional hours based on the above factors. Any comments or insinuation that your priorities are wrong, that you are not putting the RFS first, are not in line with the organisational values or the code of conduct should be reported as bullying.

The PSA will not tolerate such behaviours.

You cannot be required to work additional hours under a Local Arrangement provision, unless you agree.

A Local Arrangement is a mutual agreement reached between an employee and their supervisor/manager.

The PSA recommends that if you are requested to work additional hours that you obtain in writing what the working conditions will be prior to undertaking the work.

If the RFS advises that you will be compensated working additional hours by way of a Local Arrangement, you are not obliged to agree. If you are directed to work, then overtime provisions apply.

Health safety representative elections

Management recently released a document everyone who works at the Rural Fire Service in regards to the HSR elections.

HSR (Health and Safety Representative) are an integral part of ensuring that a workplace is safe.

We strongly suggest that all union members consider applying for the position.

HSRs are there to represent work groups during consultation on work health and safety issues, and you are also able to monitor steps taken by management to comply with legal requirements, and investigate claims surrounding WHS.

The PSA offers a 5-day training course for all HSRs, paid for by management. As a member, this can be taken as special leave. Undergoing this training allows for you to release PINs (Provisional Improvement Notices) that alert management there is a breach of the Act. This can also means that you can call for a stop to unsafe work, and ensure that everyone in your office, or on your site is safe.

Becoming a HSR is a great way to get involved in your workplace, as well as getting involved in the union.

You can find the nomination form HERE.

All nominations must be received no later than 12 noon Monday 8 October 2018. This can be submitted by:

It MUST be received at the time listed above.

If you have any questions about the role of HSRs, the process or anything else, please don’t hesitate to call your PSA Organiser – Kirra Jackson on 0438 416 615 or 9222 0906

If you know anyone interested in signing up as a HSR, have a chat to them and suggest they join the PSA. We offer a large amount of support for all HSRs and other WHS matters, as well as an excellent training program.

Sign up online HERE.

If you have any other concerns or issues you can contact the PSA Member Support Centre: 1300 772 679.

A union workplace is a fairer workplace – what can you do?

  • Not a member? Get involved by signing up!
  • Already a member? Get a colleague to join the PSA!
  • Make sure that copies of this bulletin are circulated, put on every notice board and are accessible to non-members as well.
  • Get involved by becoming a local union delegate or contact

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