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Creating Our Future Together - update next steps
As CFA members would be aware, in July we started seeking your thoughts on proposed changes to CFA's service delivery and support model, including a move from eight to five regions and centralised management and coordination of support services. Since then, our focus has been on making sure you have had every opportunity both to understand the proposals and to provide us with your feedback over the last nearly eight weeks.
Since we started consultation, we've spoken with over 3,500 members at around 200 briefings, workshops, in smaller groups and personally. We've received a great number of considered comments and questions through these sessions and through our online channels. Thank you to all members for taking the time to talk with us and tell us what you think.
We have also consulted on the model withVolunteer Fire Brigades Victoria and our other stakeholders, including industrial bodies.
As some of you may be aware, the United Firefighters' of Australia (UFU) lodged a dispute with the Fair Work Commission about consultation on the proposed changes. The UFU's complaint was that CFA had allegedly made decisions about the proposed model and were not genuinely consulting in accordance with the requirement of the Operational Staff Enterprise Agreement 2010.
Commissioner Wilson from the Fair Work Commission has now handed down two decisions in relation to this dispute.
Extension of consultation
In the formal hearing conducted on Tuesday 27 August 2013, the UFU argued that CFA had already made decisions in regard to the proposed changes and requested a 12-week extension to the consultation period.
Commissioner Wilson has informed us that he has extended the consultation period to midday on Monday 16 September to allow him time to conclude his determination of these matters.
This gives CFA members additional time to share your thoughts with us on the proposed model; and further consultation with the UFU.
I would like to reinforce that the proposed changes are not ‘a done deal'. No decisions about the proposed changes have been made - we are genuinely seeking members' thoughts on the proposals before finalising anything.
A lot of thinking has gone into the proposals and we believe they set us in the right direction, but we need your feedback - it's you, our members, who have the experience and knowledge to know whether they will work or not in practice. We are open to all suggestions and recommendations. If you haven't already done so, I encourage you all to take the time to review the proposals and send us your thoughts.
The Executive Leadership Team will use your thoughts and suggestions to finalise our future model and it is only once we have this that we will look at details such as structure. When we are at that stage, a full-time dedicated team will work with members on developing and implementing changes.
The UFU sought a large number of documents from September 2012 to July 2013 (this includes the period prior to any announcement about the proposed changes by CFA). The parties were unable to reach agreement on the documentation and the UFU sought a summons from Fair Work Commission. This matter was heard on 6 and 14 August 2013.
Importantly, Commissioner Wilson found that CFA was not required to produce the documentation for the period requested. CFA was only required to produce documents associated with the proposed changes announced in July 2013.
CFA submitted through this process that clause 13.3.5 of the Operational Staff Enterprise Agreement 2010 only required CFA to refer proposals for change to EBIC, and that proposals for change are not required to be agreed. Commissioner Wilson found that "The CFA made the entirely valid point in respect to this clause that it only requires "referral" of proposals for change to the Enterprise Bargaining Implementation Committee (EBIC) before implementation. The clause does not require proposals to change to be agreed before implementation...."
Creating Our Future Together - extending the consultation period