Victorian firefighters win pay rise

Photo: United Firefighters Union

Firefighters employed by Victoria’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) and Country Fire Authority (CFA) will get a 2.5% pay rise backdated to January 1, United Firefighters Union state secretary Peter Marshall told AAP on February 8.

Marshall also said he expected a new enterprise agreement would be signed within six months for Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV), a new entity that will be launched on July 1 as the new employer of professional firefighters currently working for the MFB and CFA.

FRV will cover Melbourne and regional cities. The CFA, which covers rural and regional areas, as well as much of Melbourne metropolitan, will lose its urban coverage and become a purely volunteer organisation.

This restructure of fire services, which separates professional firefighters (employed by FRV) from volunteers (organised by the CFA), is a response to the Victorian Liberals and Nationals’ meddling that created hostility between the two groups of firefighters.

The conservative parties used Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria, an organisation purporting to represent volunteers and headed by a highly-paid CEO, to obstruct the adoption of an enterprise agreement for professional firefighters employed by CFA.

Federal law allows “volunteer” organisations to block agreements covering paid workers in the same agency.