Victorian Metropolitan Fire Brigade non-firefighting staff vote for bans

March 11, 2017

United Firefighters Union (UFU) members working in the Corporate and Technical Division of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) have voted overwhelmingly for a campaign of bans in support of their enterprise agreement campaign.

The Corporate and Technical Division includes non-firefighting employees of the MFB, such as payroll and finance staff and computer technicians.

The campaign will include bans on communicating via email, processing payments to vendors and conducting work in relation to tenders. Issues in dispute include pay, a nine-day fortnight, disciplinary procedures and consultation provisions.

Meanwhile, the dispute over the separate enterprise agreement for firefighters employed by the MFB remains unresolved three years after the previous agreement expired. UFU state secretary Peter Marshall told Green Left Weekly that agreement has been reached on pay, but there is still disagreement on the MFB's "code of conduct", and on consultation provisions.

Firefighters employed by the Country Fire Authority (CFA) are also without a new enterprise agreement. Last year an in-principle agreement was reached between the UFU and the new CFA board, after the previous extremely anti-union CFA board was sacked by the Victorian Labor government.

But the federal Coalition government passed a law designed to prevent the agreement from being implemented. The Coalition objects to clauses requiring management to consult with the union on a range of issues including equipment and uniforms, and clauses specifying minimum staffing levels and safe work practices.

Federal employment minister Michaelia Cash has threatened to challenge 65 clauses of the agreement in court. This has prevented the signing of the agreement. However, firefighters have received the pay rises that were due under the agreement.

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