Now that bargaining is reaching the pointy end (with the preservation date for backpay being 31 July 2019) QFES has come to the table to seek to discuss UFUQ claims and theirs with the view to reaching a final in-principle deal.

There are many similarities between the two logs of claims, as both parties have identified over the past years that we keep arguing about the same things over and over, and as such, it’s time to see if we can tidy those things up.  Some of that tidy up will result in some positive award changes (you will recall the award is being reviewed at the same time as the negotiations for the new CA).

What your union has been able to do is take many of the claims we have, and multiple QFES claims, and bundle them into an idea for a task force to examine many aspects of the way Fire and Rescue operates, with the view to working together to identify positive changes.  Your union has proposed that this work becomes the ‘Safe Crewing Task Force’ and if this is agreed, CA19 will include provisions for the creation of a terms of reference and a working group to set about collating many areas of concern and looking for solutions.

I cannot be more specific at this stage about exactly how the task force will operate, as it’s still subject to negotiations.

The union goal to lock in as much of the way things happen formed many of our claim items, and this goal is looking like being achieved, with QFES agreeing with many of our claims to tidy up, document, and include a large group of processes that currently are not clearly set out anywhere.  I will hopefully be able to report on the bulk of those claims being agreed in principle in the very near future.

With 31 July approaching, I hope to be able to set out some of the agreed items as soon as possible, and this will obviously include what your union has been able to achieve financially for you.

But in summary, things are starting to move, and they’re moving in a positive direction.  I am looking forward to sharing with you as soon as I can the outcomes of the negotiations.

Your state office will need specific help on some wording in the very near future, either in negotiations, or more likely in the drafting of the wording that supports an in-principle agreed claim item.  Someone will contact you if you have put your hand up to help.

A state tour of branches, fire communication centres and other meeting locations will occur in late August and early September, as the beginning of your opportunity to review in detail what the outcomes of negotiations are.  There will be a review period where you and your colleagues will be able to spend time looking at the content of the proposed new CA, and following that review period, there will be a ballot of all covered by the agreement.

Your union will be advocating for you agreeing with the offer in the ballot and voting yes on the CA.  If there is a successful yes vote, the CA then goes for certification at QIRC.  The process from today until certification is still going to take some months, and I will keep you informed all along the way.

John Oliver - General Secretary

Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary 
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD