Bulletin No:          008                     Volume:  21                Monday 12 January 2015







Consistently over the last two years rather than sit at the negotiating table and bargain, the CFA lead by CEO Mick Bourke undertook a strategy revolving predominantly around adversarial litigation. Following this, last week the UFU achieved a significant victory with respect to the outcome of the recruits case Federal Court Appeal.

However as part of the CFA legal strategy over the last two years the CFA also applied for good faith bargaining orders against the UFU. The CFA complaints in their application for bargaining orders included that the UFU was pursuing claims which the CFA alleged were in breach of re AEU principles.

Last year the FWC granted orders arising from the CFA good faith bargaining application based on the state of the law as at that point in time (prior to the outcome of the Federal Court appeal).

However with the UFU position at the Federal Court now completely vindicated, it was necessary to revisit the recent bargaining orders.

Hence the UFU applied on Friday 9 January 2015 seeking for the revocation of such orders. The UFU submitted that the very basis for the making of the Orders no longer subsists and they should be revoked. The UFU submitted that in deference to the judgement of the Full Court, the Bargaining orders should be revoked.

At a FWC hearing today, Deputy President Smith has stated that the relevant orders granted prior to the recent Federal Court decision will now be revoked. This includes the most recent orders, but also all previous ‘interim’ orders. This is a further significant victory for the UFU and its members within the CFA.

Unfortunately though, this highlights that yet again the CFA have wasted considerable public money on legal challenges.

In fact, not only has such action been a waste of public monies, but it has also meant the delay of the bargaining towards a replacement enterprise agreement for Victorian Firefighters.

CFA CEO Mick Bourke and the CFA industrial relations personnel over the last two years have practically refused to negotiate and hidden behind their re AEU complaints. They have complained that because the UFU is pursuing impermissible content, the CFA cannot participate in negotiations.

However the recent Federal Court appeal has shone light on CFA senior managements ill conceived actions and shown that it clear as day that it is due to the CFA refusal to negotiate in any manner that a replacement enterprise agreement has not progressed as it might have.

Further, whilst the decision relates to the CFA, it is important to recall that the MFB’s bargaining team, lead by Deputy Chief Officer Stachhino, has pursued a similar line in MFB Bargaining. Now, like the CFA, the MFB can no longer rely on their misguided belief that staffing and other clauses cannot be part of bargaining.

What this means to you

The Federal Court appeal decision has opened the way for the revocation of the CFA bargaining orders. This clarifies that numerous clauses which have been resisted by both the CFA and MFB can be included in your industrial instruments. Via enterprise bargaining, the following clauses (with variations) which have been found to be valid and enforceable can be included in your industrial instrument:

  • safe staffing/additional firefighters/recruiting provisions/variation of minimum staffing chart clauses (particularly clause 27);

  • classifications and no contracting out clause (clause 26);

  • lateral entry clauses (clauses 28 and 122);

  • Clauses 13, 14 and 16 (consultation clauses);

  • Clause 15 (dispute resolution clause); and

  • Clause 38.3 (allowance clause in the context of Reserved Matters).

As to the future of bargaining, the UFU will provide further advice to members in the near future.

Strength in Unity


Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary