Fire and Rescue Service enterprise agreement negotiations

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Bulletins

These bulletins only apply to employees covered by the Northern Territory Public Sector Fire and Rescue Service 2017-2021 Enterprise Agreement.

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The Northern Territory Public Sector Fire and Rescue Service 2017-2021 Enterprise Agreement is due to expire on 7 November 2021, and I have agreed with the United Workers Union to commence bargaining for a new agreement.

Initial bargaining meeting

The initial bargaining meeting is scheduled as follows:

Date: Thursday 6 May 2021
Time: 9am to 4pm
Location: Level 9, Meeting Room A, Charles Darwin Centre

Bargaining representatives

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) imposes rights and obligations on employers, unions and employees with respect to the bargaining process. Attached for your information is the statutory Notice of Employee Representational Rights, advising employees of the right to be represented in relation to the bargaining process.

Instruments of appointment for bargaining representatives can be forwarded before the initial meeting (or at any time during the bargaining process) to enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au or:

Attention: Employee Relations
Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment
GPO Box 4371
Darwin NT 0801

Bargaining representatives are requested to contact my Office on 8999 4282 to confirm meeting dates.

More information

Regular updates in relation to the bargaining process will be posted to the OCPE Webpage dedicated to Fire and Rescue Service Enterprise Agreement Negotiations.

Information on bargaining in general can be obtained at www.fwc.gov.au or you can contact the Fair Work Commission information line on 1300 799 675.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment

The United Workers Union, the NTFRS and my Office have agreed to reschedule the initial bargaining meeting to:

Date: Monday 31 May 2021
Time: 9.00am to 4.00pm
Location: Level 2, Training Room
Manunda Place
38 Cavenagh Street, Darwin

More information

Regular updates in relation to the bargaining process will be posted to the OCPE webpage dedicated to the Fire and Rescue Service Enterprise Agreement Negotiations.
Information on bargaining in general can be obtained at www.fwc.gov.au or you can contact the Fair Work Commission information line on 1300 799 675.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment

The first negotiation meeting for a new NTPS Fire and Rescue Service Enterprise Agreement was held on Monday, 31 May 2021. This was a productive meeting and was attended by representatives of the United Workers Union, the Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service, and my Office.

I advised those present at the meeting that I am seeking a new enterprise agreement that falls within the Northern Territory Public Sector Bargaining Policy 2021- 2024 with improved conditions of employment and efficiency measures.

I presented an overview of the employer’s proposals for a new agreement and your representatives took the time to listen and understand these proposals.

The United Workers Union has advised that they will present their log of claims at our next meeting, which is scheduled for 10 June 2021.

We will continue to work constructively together over the coming months to finalise a new agreement. It is my intention to negotiate all issues with the union, so I can present a formal offer to employees by no later than 6 November 2021.

It is important you are kept informed on the progress of negotiations as these proposals relate to your employment.

Overview of the employer proposals

  • $1000 lump sum payment per annum
  • New day work recognition incentive for employees in Day Command and Track Stations, in place of PDO’s (excluding District Officers and Humpty Doo Station). 6.5% in the first year of service and 8.5% for subsequent years.
  • Enhance skills maintenance provisions for employees in Day Command and Track Stations
  • Enhance the firefighter career pathway to realise a highly skilled and responsive workforce and increase opportunities for future leaders
  • Address inconsistencies of the application of the Major Aerial Appliance (Bronto) Operator Allowance
  • Introduce a centralised rostering framework for governance and corporate efficiency purposes
  • Enhance Accelerated Recruitment Program to include re-appointees, subject to eligibility requirements
  • Include entitlements to leave without pay, miscellaneous leave, and defence service leave in the new agreement
  • NAIDOC leave - include up to 3 hours of flextime/ TOIL/ paid leave to attend NAIDOC March and approved activities
  • Increase paid compassionate leave to 5 days (up from 3 days) for immediate family/household members
  • New entitlement to 3 days paid leave on the death of an employee’s extended family member (i.e. aunt/uncle/niece/nephew/first cousin)
  • Domestic and family violence leave provisions expanded to cover circumstances of sexual violence
  • New entitlement to 8 hours paid pre-natal leave for a pregnant employee or spouse to attend pregnancy related medical appointments
  • Introduce 2 days paid leave for pre-adoption interviews and permanent care order applications and interviews for foster and kinship carers
  • A four year agreement
  • Increased salary for District Officers (4.5%) in place of PDO’s
  • Realignment of specialised skills and allowances to employees in Day Command
  • Introduction of tenure rotation to ensure skills are adequately spread across commands and operations are diversified
  • Include Certificate IV in Training and Assessment as part of the Senior Firefighter rank
  • Improve access to Higher Duties Allowance to address operational issues that arise when backfilling District Officer vacancies
  • Update recall to duty provisions in line with the Fire and Emergency Act
  • Provide access to 2 hours paid leave per annum for mental health screening/cancer screening
  • Include foster and kinship carer’s leave in the agreement
  • Compassionate leave provisions expanded to include circumstances of miscarriage
  • Introduce new “flexible-lifestyle leave” to support work life balance - allows purchase of up to 8 weeks additional leave per year
  • Improve support for families by providing employees with the right to return from parental leave on a part-time basis for up to 6 months
  • Support diversity at work by introducing a new entitlement for gender transition leave (4 weeks paid leave and 12 months unpaid)
  • Transition to retirement – enable employees within 3 years of superannuation accruing age (currently 65) to access flextime/ TOIL/ paid leave up to 2 hours per annum to seek independent financial advice on superannuation options

Have your say – your feedback is important

Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
June 2021

The parties continue to meet on a weekly basis and have now discussed each of the claims and proposals put forward by the parties.  The parties will continue to work through any outstanding matters that are still being considered or that may be subject to new or amended clauses being drafted.

I am pleased to report that further improvements to existing conditions have been agreed ‘in principle’, on a without prejudice basis and subject to drafting clauses including:

  • compassionate leave (3 days) where employee or their partner experiences miscarriage
  • more paid leave for cancer screening and extend entitlement to include mental health screening
  • domestic and family violence provisions to include sexual violence

I have also listened to concerns from the union and we have agreed to the introduction of a 13 month annual leave roster and to amend the meal allowance breakfast period to 0600 to 0700.

Based on progress to date, I am hopeful that I will be in a position to consider the new enterprise agreement as a ‘total package’ so I can present a formal offer to employees no later than 6 November 2021.

The above improvements build on my other proposals for the proposed new NTPS Fire and Rescue Service Enterprise Agreement, including:

  • $4000 over four years (plus superannuation guarantee - not applicable for NTGPASS and CSS members).
  • more benefits for flexible work
  • 3 days paid compassionate leave on the death of an extended family member
  • paid leave to attend NAIDOC week activities

bulletin 5

Let’s stick together, keep job certainty and keep working for Territorians.

Have your say – your feedback is important

Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au

More information

Regular updates in relation to the bargaining process will be posted to the OCPE webpage dedicated to NTPS Fire and Rescue Service Enterprise Agreement Negotiations.

Information on bargaining in general can be obtained at www.fwc.gov.au or you can contact the Fair Work Commission information line on 1300 799 675.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
September 2021

I am pleased to report that bargaining has been progressing well and in addition to my original proposal in Bulletin 3, and improvements in Bulletin 4, I am offering further significant improvements to terms and conditions of service for employees.

Bulletin10

Below is a summary of key improvements.

  • Improved condition - Wages Policy
    Should there be  a change to the Wages Policy during the term of the Agreement that provides for additional benefits above those contained in this offer (such as an increase to salaries above the value of the lump sum payment) these will be passed on through a determination.
  • New condition - Christmas Closedown leave
    Employees will be entitled to 3 days paid leave (based on the ordinary weekly hours) in lieu of NTPS Christmas Closedown provisions.  This will need to be utilised within 12 months.
  • Improved condition -  Allowances
    Continue CPI increases to existing allowances listed in Determination Number 1 of 2021 (relevant to the Agreement). The allowances will not reduce if the Darwin CPI decreases.
  • Improved condition - Job security
    No involuntary redundancies for the term of the Agreement (does not apply to redeployees listed on the OCPE Redeployment Database for longer than 2 years).
  • Improved condition - Further improvements to leave provisions
    Parental Leave
    • Improvements to payment of employer superannuation guarantee contributions (SG) during the first 12 months of parental leave:
      • SG paid during paid and unpaid Partner Leave provided the employee’s spouse is also an NTPS employee
      • SG paid at double the legislated rate during a period of paid Primary Caregiver leave or Special Maternity Leave (stillbirth)
  • Improved condition - Kinship Obligation leave
    5 days paid leave to attend Sorry Business or related purposes and a definition of kinship to be included in the Agreement.
  • Improved condition - Dispute settling procedures
    Disputes relating to refusals for requests for flexible work or to extend parental leave will be able to be referred to arbitration (currently exempt from conciliation or arbitration).
  • Improved condition - $1000 lump sum payment
    This will be paid to employees who are on leave without pay for up to 4 weeks.
  • Improved condition -  Infectious Disease leave
    Provides for where an employee suffers an injury or disease in the course of their employment, they may be eligible for workers compensation.
  • Improved condition - Safe and healthy work environment
    Provides a commitment to supporting sector-wide guidelines to ensure work, health and safety of employees and for all employees to be granted reasonable unscheduled short rest breaks during work hours to ensure safe systems of work.
  • Retained condition - Emergency leave
    Entitlement to 3 days emergency leave will be retained (original proposal was to reduce to 2 days)
  • Commitment - NTPS Aboriginal Employment and Career Development
    A sign post in the EA acknowledging the NTPS Aboriginal Employment and Career Development Strategy for 2021 – 2025 and Employment Instruction Number 15 (Special Measures) which support Aboriginal recruitment, training and career progression.

As a number of the improvements above have cost implications it was necessary to review my original proposal dated 7 June 2021 to identify some offsets. My improved offer is amended with the withdrawal of the Transition to Retirement proposal (2 hours/year leave). Employees may still access leave for this purpose.

Have your say – your feedback is important

The parties will continue to work constructively to finalise a proposed new agreement. Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au

More information

Regular updates in relation to the bargaining process will be posted to the OCPE website. Information on bargaining in general can be obtained at www.fwc.gov.au or you can contact the Fair Work Commission information line on 1300 799 675.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
October 2021

Let’s stick together and keep job security.

The Australian Electoral Commission has issued the important notice PDF (77.4 KB) to Fire Fighters who are members of United Workers Union (UWU), who are eligible to vote in a protected action ballot.

The information includes details on eligibility to vote, the ballot timetable, and questions to be put to relevant employees.

Only UWU members will receive ballots, and if the ballot is successful, only members of UWU can take the protected industrial action proposed by their union. Employees who are not UWU members cannot participate in taking protected industrial action.

Fair Work Act requirements

Employees should note that in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act), employers may provide written notice to employees stating that, because of partial work bans, the employee’s payments will be reduced by a proportion as specified in the notice.

More information about the bargaining process

Regular updates in relation to the bargaining process are posted to the OCPE website. Further information on bargaining and the Act can be obtained at www.fwc.gov.au or you can contact the Fair Work Commission information line on 1300 799 675.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment

I am pleased to advise that on 6 December 2021, I made an offer to settle the NTFRS enterprise agreement negotiations.

We have worked hard and listened to your feedback to arrive at a balanced offer, which seeks to provide good improvements for all employees.

The table below summarises the details of the offer. See full details on the offer.

New offer

Summary of the offer

$10 000 over 4 years (plus employer superannuation guarantee)

  • $4 000 lump sum (gross) once the agreement is approved
  • $2 000 lump sum (gross) in November 2022, 2023, 2024
  • Counts for superannuation (excluding for Defined Benefit schemes - NTGPASS/CSS)

NEW Christmas Closedown Leave

  • A new entitlement providing paid Christmas Closedown Leave to cover the working days between Christmas and New Year’s day for day workers). Shiftworkers will be able to bank 3 days (22.8 hours) of Christmas closedown leave.

Employee rights and entitlements

  • No reduction to current or future employee rights and entitlements as provided in the By-laws and Determinations.
  • Conditions will not be varied without consultation and agreement.

CPI Allowances

  • Continue Darwin CPI Increases on allowances listed in Determination Number 1 of 2021 relevant to the enterprise agreement. The allowances will not reduce if the Darwin CPI decreases.

Improved condition Job security

  • No involuntary redundancies for the term of the Agreement (does not apply to redeployees greater than 2 years)

Commitment if changes in the wages policy

  • Should there be a change to the Wages Policy during the term of the Agreement that provides for additional benefits above those contained in this offer (such as an increase to salaries above the value of the lump sum payment) these will be passed on through a determination

Improvements to leave provisions

  • Compassionate leave
    • Increased from 3 to 5 days in the case of death or life threatening illness of an immediate family member
    • new provision for 3 days paid leave on the occasion of the death of an extended family member (aunt, uncle, cousin) or in the case of miscarriage
  • Domestic and family violence leave provisions (currently uncapped access to miscellaneous leave)
    • extended to include sexual violence outside the domestic setting
  • By-Law leave provisions included in the Agreement (e.g. emergency leave, defence service, leave without pay).  A new clause will also clarify that where relevant, the PSEMA By-Laws apply to NTFRS
  • NAIDOC leave. Up to 3 hours of paid leave p.a. to attend a NAIDOC march and approved activities
  • Gender Transition leave
    • Support for eligible employees who are transitioning their gender
    • access up to 12 months leave, inclusive of 4 weeks paid and 48 weeks unpaid leave
  • Health Screening leave
    • 1 hour paid leave per year for the purpose of undertaking a health screening test associated with a public health screening program
  • Improved war service leave to recognise injury resulting from war-like service
  • Improved leave for voluntary emergency management activities includes reasonable rest time
  • Kinship Obligation Leave – 5 days paid leave to attend ‘Sorry Business’ or related purposes

Improvements for parents

  • Builds on current generous paid parental leave provisions (14 weeks after 12 months service, 18 weeks after 5 years services)
  • Improvements to payment of employer superannuation guarantee contributions (SG) during the first 12 months of parental leave:
    1. SG paid during paid and unpaid Partner Leave provided the employee’s spouse is also an NTPS employee
    2. SG paid at double the legislated rate during a period of paid Primary Caregiver leave or Special Maternity Leave (stillbirth)
  • Expanded definition of ‘continuous service’ under Parental Leave
  • New pre-natal leave provision
    • up to 8 hours leave for pregnancy related medical appointments
  • Improved provision for employees returning from parental leave
    • right to return on a part-time basis for at least 6 months, where the employee so choses (replacing ‘right to request’)
  • Foster and Kinship carer leave
    • improved to provide 2 days paid leave to attend permanent care order interviews
  • Pre-adoption leave
    • improved to provide paid leave to attend interviews or examinations required in order to obtain approval for the employee’s adoption of a child

Flexible work improvements

  • Ability to purchase up to 8 weeks additional leave per year
  • Only CEOs will have the authority to refuse an employee’s request to work from home

Career Pathway

  • Provisions will be retained and current working group will continue to work on further developing career paths

Accelerated Recruitment Program (ARP)

  • Commitment to review and enhance the ARP to include re-appointees

Higher Duties Allowance (HDA)

  • Improved access to HDA to address operational issues backfilling District Officer Vacancies. This will allow officers at the substantive Station Officer classification to act as District Officer.

Dispute Settling Procedures

  • Removal of the current exemptions regarding refusals for flexible work or to extend parental leave.

Leave Roster

  • Introduction of 13 month annual leave roster
  • New provision enabling employees to apply for unrostered leave for any period (subject to minimum staffing) in addition to rostered leave

Relinquishment of rank

  • Improvements to the provisions to provide “Rank will not officially be relinquished, nor will any relinquishment be processed until the merit selection process for the advertised vacancy in question has been finalised”.

Track Stations

  • Dedicated section in the agreement for Track Station hours of work, and related terms and conditions

Fire Investigator Allowance

  • Improvement to provide that the minimum payment provisions of By-law 38 apply

Meal allowance periods

  • Breakfast meal period amended to 06:00-07:00

Have your say – your feedback is important

The parties will continue to work constructively to finalise a proposed new agreement for a ballot process. Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au

More information

Regular updates in relation to the bargaining process will be posted to the OCPE website. Information on bargaining in general can be obtained at www.fwc.gov.au or you can contact the Fair Work Commission information line on 1300 799 675.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
6 December 2021


Last updated: 04 May 2022

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