NEWS

ARBITRATION OUTCOME - CERTIFIED AGREEMENT 2012

On the 23rd December 2014 the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) released its determination regarding the 2012 Certified Agreement.  The release of this determination sees the conclusion of a very long drawn out and complex process, a process which primarily involved QFES and the United Firefighters Union.

As members would be aware the SOU sought to obtain a separate agreement, given that our issues were fewer and less complex, with the majority of items having already been settled during negotiation.  Due to the Government's policy regarding the need to maintain a single bargaining unit, the SOU was unable to progress a separate agreement.

The determination is available here for review.  The determination now sees the following salary increases:

  • 2.2% from Sunday 8 December 2013 (the commencement date of this Determination);
  • 2.2% from Sunday 4 January 2015; and
  • 2.2% from Sunday 25 October 2015.

Additionaly the QIRC have decided that the 2013 Determination will nominally expire on Saturday 1 October 2016.

As members would be aware the SOU has for an extended period sought to address the issue of senior officers’ incomes having been reduced over time in comparison to their subordinates.  In responding to the issue, the QIRC stated:

[186] In addition to its arguments about senior officers’ incomes reducing over time in comparison to their subordinates, SOU also relied upon the evidence of Mr Cawcutt to the effect that equivalent level staff in the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS), the Queensland Police Service (QPS) and interstate Fire Services were better remunerated than senior officers employed by QFES.

[187] Given the nature of these proceedings, which provided very little opportunity to analyse the nature and scope of the duties of senior officers under the current [new] rank structure as compared to the previous structure, and the strictures imposed on us by the CBRC Minute referred to above, we have decided not to grant SOU’s claim. However in an endeavour to try to accommodate both the interests of QFES and senior officers we would strongly encourage the respective parties to jointly examine the level of the overall remuneration package of senior officers employed by QFES compared to comparable levels of senior officers employed by QPS and QAS and the “margin” between the pay levels of such senior officers and their subordinates. Information of this type, as well as the potential assessment of the work performed by senior officers within QFES by an organisation like Mercer, might help the parties reach an agreed, or partially agreed position in the lead up to the negotiation of a Certified Agreement in late 2016.

It is the intention of the incoming SOU State Council to continue efforts towards this important SOU goal.

In concluding this news item, the outgoing Executive Committee formally acknowlegde the members who assisted the SOU during the Certified Agreement and Arbitration proceedings.  Your efforts and contributions are sincerely appreciated.  

Regards

SOU Executive Committee

COMMISSIONER LEE JOHNSON AFSM

Today, our Commissioner Lee Johnson AFSM announced his intention to retire. The SOU wishes to acknowledge and congratulate the Commissioner on his 13 years of leading and developing the organisation.

He has been acknowledged internationally by virtue of his previous position as President of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authority Council and more recently awarded a Fellow of the Institute of the Fire Engineers.

The SOU shares the Commissioner’s concerns regarding the reported bullying, harassment and sexist behaviours in the organisation. The SOU is committed to eliminating all forms of this behaviour and will continue to work towards this goal.

The SOU looks forward to working with, and supporting Acting Commissioner Katarina Carroll APM.     

On behalf of all senior officers, we wish the Commissioner, his wife Lyn and their family all the best for the future.

Thank you
QFR-SOU State Executive

INSPECTOR'S TOIL PAYOUT UPDATE

Following on from some Inspector's TOIL payout requests being rejected, the SOU President and Secretary met with the QFES yesterday to clarify eligibility under the Senior Officer Interim Employment Conditions (Standing Order SO-Q-BM-3.32). At this meeting it was accepted that:

  • The request for TOIL payout under Standing Order 3.32 is at the discretion of the employee. For clarity, the employee (Inspectors only) do not have to be 'prevented' from taking TOIL but may elect to bank the time for annual payout at 30 June.
  • Any TOIL accrued in the period before the 30 June date may be paid out on request. This means that the TOIL accrued does not have to be over 12 months old to be eligible for payout.

All Senior Officers are reminded that the accrual of TOIL must be approved as per the Business Rule - Operations Business Management D3.8 Coordinate Time Off In Lieu (TOIL).

QFES are notifying Queensland Shared Services (QSS payroll) of this information.

Any Inspector who encounters any problems should contact their Branch Councillor in the first instance.

Thank you

SOU Executive Committee 

BUNYA FOREST DEDICATED AS THE NATIONAL FIREFIGHTER FOREST

The National Arboretum Canberra is grateful for the contribution that Australia's fire and rescue services and has dedicated the Bunya forest as the National Firefighter Forest.  The National Arboretum Canberra is home to 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world. More than 48,000 trees grow on the 250 hectare (618 acres or 2.5 million square metres) site, with species from over 100 countries represented.

Located at the western end of Lake Burley Griffin, just six kilometres from the centre of Canberra, the Arboretum offers panoramic views over Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin and the mountains beyond. 
The Bunya Pine tree, which has fire protection characteristics, has been selected to symbolise the courage and dedication shown by current and past firefighters and aims to symbolise firefighters as a collective while recognising the contribution made by Australia's firefighters to the National Arboretum Canberra.

The link is http://www.nationalarboretum.act.gov.au/about_us/fireandrescue

SOU WORK PROGRAM FOR 2014

2014 will certainly be remembered as a year of challenges and change.  The SOU work program (as outlined at the March State Conference) for 2014 includes:

> Transitioning to the outcomes of the 2012 Enterprise Agreement Arbitrated Outcome (QIRC decision expected in the near future),

> Continuing engagement with QFES and Government on implementation aspects relating to the implementation of PACSR, and 

> Conducting the SOU General Elections due September 2014, in preparation for the new SOU State Council taking office 1 February 2015, and 

> Identifying any other viable strategy that supports our SOU Objectives, and responding to members issues as they arise.

Where necessary member support will be sought when needed to address issues as they arise.  This may be focused committee work or broader efforts requiring engagement by the full membership.

Members are asked to remain professional and focused on maintaining the SOU's reputation as a moderate industrial organisation that provides value to both members and the broader public safety sector through appropriate engagement.

Thank you

SOU State Executive