Tasmania Fire Service Bargaining at an Impasse3 minute read

The capability CPSU members in TFS provide the Tasmanian community by undertaking Incident Management Operations (IMO) roles in addition to their normal work is critical to our state’s capacity to respond to significant fires. We need to stand united to ensure this work is recognised. 

CPSU members in the Tasmania Fire Service are currently voting on whether to accept or reject the latest offer, or to endorse a counteroffer to TFS. CPSU Delegates in TFS are strongly encouraging members to reject the offer currently on the table and endorse a counteroffer to bring negotiators back to the table to overcome the impasse in bargaining.  

This counteroffer will come with the condition that we require a response in three weeks or will proceed to a ballot for industrial action.  

What will it take to get this finished?   

Chief Officer Dermot Barry recently commented, ‘we all know when we see the fire over the hill and smell the smoke, they will be there’.  

He’s right. CPSU members in TFS are dedicated and will always put the safety of Tasmanians first. But it is shameful behaviour for our political leaders to exploit that commitment and dedication to the community to keep you on second-rate conditions. You deserve better. 

An industrial agreement must provide you with modern working conditions that include arrangements around fatigue management, recognition of summers spent working and Higher Duties for those who step up to enable the stand up of Incident Management Teams. These are not unreasonable asks, and we should not accept an agreement without them.  

Looking to the mainland: Where they understand the importance of building capability 

Our sister union CPSU Victoria and the Victorian Government have reached an agreement that will see the implementation of the following for all workers involved in firefighting in Parks: 

  • Incident Management Responsibility Payments – payments to those staff who are trained and accredited to undertake Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System (AIIMS) roles. 
  • Additional Superannuation Payments for those involved in fire preparedness and fire response activities. 
  • Fatigue Management Leave – an additional 5 days leave for those who have undertaken 152 hours of overtime or standby. Once reached the 152 hours accrues pro-rata at 0.25 hours per 1 hour of overtime/standby.  

Yet, back home, the Tasmanian Fire Service is refusing even to agree to guidelines around fatigue, so that you and your manager can know what arrangements kick into gear when you are unable to get the required fatigue breaks. They also refuse to extend additional leave (like the Fatigue Management Leave) already in place for firefighters in Parks to TFS staff.  

What can you do? 

For CPSU members in TFS: 

  • Pass this on to others in your workplace and if they’re not a member, ask them to join today at https://www.cpsu.com.au/join/. Only members get to vote on what we do next. 
  • Tell us your story. Why did you choose to work for TFS? What do you need to feel valued? We use these stories to share with decision makers, so they understand the sacrifices you make  
  • Keep your eye out for the ballot, and make sure you cast your vote by Wednesday 27th of July. 

For all other CPSU members, or community supporters: 

Thirza White

General Secretary
Community & Public Sector Union (SPSFT)

t.white@tas.cpsu.com.au

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