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Update on Specialist Appliances
Further to Chief Officer Euan Ferguson's last update on issues around the commissioning of specialist appliances, CFA recently lodged the matter in the Fair Work Commission to determine the following:
Whether agreement is required with the United Firefighters (UFU) before CFA can carry out validation training on the new aerial pumper at Frankston, or make changes to vehicle design, before deployment of new appliances.
While CFA intends to continue consulting with the relevant stakeholders and considering feedback as per current practice, to require such agreement with the UFU would have a significant impact on objectives and timeframes associated with the specialist appliances.
Whether the dispute resolution clause requires the UFU to:
- Provide an explanation of its grievance
- Outline where the 2010 Operational Staff Enterprise Agreement has not been adhered to by CFA.
The Fair Work Commission convened conciliation proceedings on Monday 17 June between CFA and the UFU about the commissioning of specialist appliances and, in particular, the training validation on the aerial pumper. CFA's position, put forward to the UFU and the Fair Work Commission, was that consultation had been completed regarding the aerial pumper and heavy hazmat.
As a result, both parties agreed on a without prejudice basis to the following recommendations set out by the Commission:
- UFU and CFA will meet again to further consult about the issues concerning aerial pumper and heavy hazmat appliance design issues. This meeting took place yesterday (18 June).
- The training validation process with the aerial pumper at Frankston will proceed.
- Consultation on the design issues for the aerial pumper and heavy hazmat appliance has now concluded, unless the UFU advises to the contrary by close of business on Monday 24 June 2013.
- If the UFU advises to the contrary, the Fair Work Commission will arbitrate the matter on behalf of both parties.
In accordance with the recommendations the training validation of the aerial pumper commenced today and CFA met with the UFU yesterday.
The design of the aerial pumper and heavy hazmats will be considered concluded and implementation will commence, unless the UFU advises the Fair Work Commission before Monday that it does not believe consultation is complete. If the matter isn't concluded, CFA will consider its position and advise the Fair Work Commission whether the dispute is to progress to arbitration on the matters listed above (Items 1 and 2).
CFA is hopeful of a resolution next week so that we can deploy the aerial pumpers and heavy hazmat vehicles in a timely manner to protect the Victorian community.
As always, we will keep you up to date as the matter progresses.