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Proposed Operational Enterprise Agreement to Unlock MFB’s Potential

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16 Apr 2013
The Metropolitan Fire Brigade has provided its firefighters draft enterprise agreements designed to unlock the capability and capacity of the organisation to better serve Victorians.

Proposed Operational Enterprise Agreement to Unlock MFB’s Potential


The Metropolitan Fire Brigade has provided its firefighters draft enterprise agreements designed to unlock the capability and capacity of the organisation to better serve Victorians.


The two agreements proposed by MFB which will be subject to negotiation by the bargaining representives are:


·      The Metropolitan Fire Brigade Operational Employees Agreement 2013, which will cover employees up to and including Senior Station Officers;

·      The Metropolitan Fire Brigade Senior Operational Leadership Agreement 2013, which will cover Commanders and Assistant Chief Fire Officers.


The approach taken to this Enterprise Agreement will support the strong commitment of the MFB to improve the safety of Victorians.


MFB CEO Nick Easy said MFB needed to manage its resources for the future and replace the current operational enterprise agreements which contain provisions which are too prescriptive and not consistent with National Employment Standards.


“Enterprise agreements are an important instrument for employment terms and conditions but they should not provide a right of veto to the union regarding the allocation and use of resources,” said Mr Easy. “The MFB’s current operational agreements are restrictive and prevent effective decision-making by the organisation.


“MFB is seeking the removal of restrictive provisions to better position the organisation and employees to lead emergency management in Melbourne and across the sector, in line with MFB’s responsibilities today as well as the Victorian Government’s plans for sector reform.


“It is also imperative that MFB's Chief Officer has the ability to rapidly allocate resources where they are most needed. The current prescriptive arrangements are often used to hinder our ability to quickly respond to changing emergency conditions.”


He added that this will strengthen and give firefighters more opportunities to participate in sector-wide initiatives.


The new enterprise agreements provide pay increases in excess of State Government minimum wage increase policy over three years for the majority of firefighters. The proposed agreements amount to an increase of $40 million in employment costs for operational employees over that term.


Mr Easy said MFB would roster the same number of firefighters per shift.


Key terms and conditions will not be changed:


·      The 10/14 shift, which comprises two days shifts of 10 hours followed by two night shifts of 14 hours;

·      Four days on shift is followed by four days off;

·      65 days annual leave for operational firefighters and Commanders;

·      144 hours of paid personal leave (sick and carer’s) per annum, in addition to paid parental, compassionate,  pressing necessity, community service, defence force and study leave; and unpaid carers’ leave;

·      Rest and recline, (i.e. being able to sleep when not called to an incident), between 11pm and 7am.


Mr Easy said MFB was proud of the work firefighters do for the community and of its record of performance and safety. These changes would only enhance that record.


“MFB is committed to the safety of its firefighters and the communities that we serve,” Mr Easy said. “We will continue to meet our performance targets in relation to emergency response times and containment to room of origin.”


Mr Easy said the new agreement would remove disincentives that encourage non-attendance and unscheduled overtime, an issue that was raised in the recently released report from the Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO).


The VAGO Report showed that MFB has the poorest record with unplanned leave compared to its peer agencies in Melbourne and other fire agencies in Australia.


It also found that MFB’s current enterprise agreement “contains provisions that constrain MFB’s ability to effectively and efficiently implement initiatives to manage unplanned leave”, and recommended that this be reviewed during enterprise agreement negotiations. Mr Easy said it is time that these matters are appropriately addressed.


In recognition of the importance of firefighter health and safety all employees under the new agreements will be required to participate in health and fitness monitoring programs and have the necessary physical capacity to perform work in the normal manner. This will provide assurance to our employees and the community that they are in the best position to protect themselves, their colleagues and the community.



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