Victoria's firefighters union has rejected a pay rise from the Country Fire Authority (CFA) because it says the offer compromises safety conditions.
The CFA offered workers a 19% pay rise over six years, but the United Firefighters Union said 350 promised positions had been removed from the agreement.
Union secretary Peter Marshall said: "These... new positions weren't arbitrary, they were … for locations that do not have enough firefighters.
"If you don't have firefighters at these locations, the CFA's own data will show that firefighters are put at risk because there's simply not enough of them."
Marshall said the offer broadened the scope for the use of labour hire staff in roles they were not qualified for. "There are contractors that can be used for specific reasons, but not for the work of firefighters," he said.