Member Update – Mid Term Review

Your United Firefighters Union Aviation Branch

Mid Term Review
  So here we are approaching the halfway point of the first three year term of the current elected officers of the UFUA Aviation Branch.

So we would like to pause and take some time to reflect on what your Union has done for you over the past 16 months in office.

Within 6 weeks of taking office the current EA was completed with minimal loss and maximum allowable gains. We took Airservices on several times in FWA and won each time with the EA and their deliberate poor behaviour.

The new BCOM was elected and over the past 16 months we have been working hard to be a high performing team, dedicated to putting our members interests and protections forward at every opportunity.

We have educated ourselves in the FWA Acts and Regs as well as the new EA and the Industrial and WHS laws and standards that protect our membership. We have used these to advantage in many locations to protect our members. We had Managers accused of bullying and harassment held to account in three stations and were directly responsible for saving members jobs and getting bad decisions reversed in a lot of disputes.

We have used our right of entry powers to great effect despite Airservices deliberately trying to refuse us access on many occasions. We are individually targeting the managers, or persons behind any adverse actions and we will continue to do so to stop the rot and effectively protect our members.

We have employed our own legal team on a part time basis. Dr Allison Ballard who is a respected Barrister and lecturer at Canberra University, and Melita Bozin who is a former Court and Tribunal Registrar and dispute resolution specialist lawyer, already an expert but getting better with all the practice she has had in making Comcare do their job properly.  

We have pushed hard to achieve a Senate Inquiry that has provided a strong report into ARFFS that endorses what the UFUA has said all along. That is that Airservices has deliberately understaffed and under resourced the ARFFS in Australia for a very long time now. That CASA and Infrastructure have also been allowing or supporting this degradation of services and safety. We use our contacts to ensure Senate Estimates are kept informed and asking the right questions.

We have rebuilt the Station Organisers into our Workplace Delegates team. We now have every station except for Hobart represented by a Workplace Delegate. We have introduced mid monthly video meetings to ensure your local delegate is up to date and knows what your union is up to and what issues we are fighting on your behalf. Any Workplace Delegates that want to access training in their role please contact us and we will arrange it. Well trained, informed and cohesive representatives will make a formidable team for our union.

We are commencing the elections and upskilling all of our HSR members and we will ensure that our HSR members are fully supported and fully trained and using their powers to the maximum benefit of every member of their work groups. We will enforce their rights to mandatory training as HSR's and we will support any that want to further their knowledge and skills by extra training in WHS.

We have a new National WHS Co-Ordinator who will shortly be an elected officer of this branch of the union. He has already completed both FWA and WHS Right of Entry training requirements. Soon he will be visiting stations and helping our HSR's build and grow into an effective lobbying and enforcement group for WHS issues.

These two streams of workplace representation will ensure you are fully supported in both Industrial and Safety by the Union. Our communications are getting better all the time with our revamped website, our new App is about to go live, our SMS, our MailChimp, our Facebook group and page, our Twitter account our Instagram account and possibly a blog page in the future. We have been asked to also reimplement paper based communications so members can just pick up a newsletter or UFUA Memo off the kitchen table or notice board and read it.

We have forced Airservices through the Senate, through CASA, through the Minister and through Fairwork to conduct the TRA and to ensure the UFUA is involved. We jumped on their underhanded tactics of removing the rescue component from the TRA scenario after Ballina and got CASA to attend in Canberra and intervene. We are now, with the assistance of our members trying to stop them from watering down the new CABA safe working procedures. Anyone who has attended the school in the last month may have seen another underhanded attempt at watering down these CABA safe working procedures that our expert members took a long time to finally introduce into ARFFS and bring us up to the National fire services best practice standards and introduce a real RIT capability.

We have established strong ties in the Senate and we will be working to ensure our political capital is strengthened at every opportunity. We have established direct access with CASA Senior Managers and we have been accepted by CASA as legitimate stakeholders in ARFFS and Aviation Safety. Your Union will also now have a seat at the table in the Technical Working Groups for the Regs and MOS reviews. We will be working hard on the Minister and the Dept Infrastructure to get them to hear us and keep Airservices focus on safety ahead of finance.

We have established ties with the Pilots Union and will be seeking to establish ties with the flight attendants and Aircraft Engineers unions as well. We have built on the existing relationships with the other UFUA branches and the FBEU NSW. We share and communicate issues regularly with the CPSU and Civil Air.

We are having two monthly face to face meetings with the ARFFS EGM where we can raise any issues we need to, direct to the most senior person in charge of ARFFS. On top of this we write to him regularly with our concerns as well as two NCC and DCC meeting a year and a standing invite for him and or his team members to attend our twice yearly BCOM Meetings.

We are doing our best to hold Airservices senior leaders to account, through threatening federal court cases for significant wage theft from our most vulnerable members, for adverse action against our members, for bogus arrangements in Letters of Offer and for bullying and harassment by management, on behalf of management.

Its been a busy period for your elected officials and we have tried our best to represent, support and protect you, our members.

Thank you all for all the support and trust you have provided to your elected members. We currently have 98% membership but would love to have 100%. If your not currently a UFUA member ask yourself why not?   Kind regards   Mark von Nida Branch Secretary

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