About a third of Victoria's firefighters have experienced bullying in the workplace and more than 95% believe that negative media coverage of their campaigns for new enterprise bargaining agreements had profoundly damaged workplace morale and led to "public aggression" and a "reluctance to disclose their occupation".
Country Fire Authority
United Firefighters Union (UFU) members employed by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) and the Country Fire Authority (CFA) held meetings to discuss their struggle to win enterprise agreements for their workplaces on August 20.
The proposed new agreements are still being blocked, several years after the expiry of the previous agreements. This is largely due to federal industrial relations legislation that has created a range of obstacles. CFA and MFB managements have also obstructed attempts to resolve the problems.
The Coalition opposition has blocked legislation introduced by the Victorian Labor government to restructure Victoria's fire services.
The legislation aims at changing the current situation where cities such as Geelong and Ballarat, and many Melbourne suburbs are covered by the Country Fire Authority (CFA) rather than the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.
The October 17 edition of The Age has a front page story about bullying and sexual harassment in the Country Fire Authority (CFA).
The article said: "Women working for the CFA have been sexually assaulted and harassed amid a culture of fear, bullying and impunity, according to a leaked internal report whose existence has been a tightly held secret until now."
Workers employed in the Corporate and Technical Division of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) will vote on a new enterprise agreement during the two weeks beginning on August 31. The Corporate and Technical Division includes non-firefighting employees of the MFB, such as payroll and finance staff and computer technicians.
A proposed law restructuring Victoria's fire services has been referred to a parliamentary select committee, and will not be put to a vote until parliament resumes in August. This follows the expression of "concerns" about the law by conservative crossbenchers in the upper house.
The proposed law would end the antiquated situation where regional cities and a large part of the Melbourne metropolitan area are covered by the Country Fire Authority (CFA), and receive an inferior service.
The Victorian Labor government has announced its plans for restructuring Victoria's fire services.
Currently, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade covers only part of the Melbourne metropolitan area, while the Country Fire Authority (CFA) covers not only rural areas but also regional cities and many of Melbourne's suburbs.
The proposed law would create a new body, Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV), which would cover the whole Melbourne metropolitan area and regional cities.
The Victorian Labor government is considering a restructure of Victoria's fire services, according to a report in the May 9 Herald Sun.
Victoria has two fire services — the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) and the Country Fire Authority (CFA). The boundaries between the zones covered by these two bodies have not been changed for many years. With the expansion of Melbourne, many outer suburbs are covered by the CFA. So too are large towns such as Ballarat and Bendigo.
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 United Firefighters Union (UFU) filed a request with the Fair Work Commission on January 20 for a ballot on protected industrial action by UFU members in the Corporate and Technical Division of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB).
The proposed industrial action would involve 21 work bans, including bans on communicating via email, processing payments to vendors and conducting any work in relation to tenders.