Bulletin No: 256 Volume: 21 Saturday 19 December 2015
To ALL UFU MEMBERS
FIREFIGHTERS CAN HOLD THEIR HEADS HIGH
COMMUNITY IS PROTECTED & THE MFB GAIN NOTHING IN TOTAL FIRE BAN MEDIA STUNT
Media release is as follows:
The MFB will continue to call off-duty senior firefighters when needed during emergencies.
That’s the outcome of today’s urgent Fair Work Commission hearing which occupied the acting Chief Officer and two Deputy Chief Officers as actual firefighters fought blazes around the State.
The non-event began yesterday when the MFB announced that it wanted Assistant Chief Fire Officers and Commanders to remain within 40 km of Melbourne and be available if called.
The United Firefighters Union queried the announcement by email and acting Chief Officer David Bruce replied that he would phone that afternoon.
Instead, the MFB filed a dispute and sought an urgent hearing in the Fair Work Commission this morning.
Selected media were told that firefighters were being directed to refuse to respond. The Herald Sun online headline is: “United Firefighters Union orders members to ignore plea as Victoria faces scorching heat”
But the Commission was told there are no bans or industrial action, and no directions either explicit or implied for firefighters to be unavailable.
United Firefighters Union secretary Peter Marshall says the whole episode has been a storm in a teacup – and a complete waste of time – while Victoria is in a state of extreme fire danger.
“The MFB today said it wants to be able to call senior firefighters when needed. The MFB have been calling firefighters and they have been attending when available.
“Today has been a complete waste of taxpayers’ money and a distraction on a day of Total Fire Ban.
“And once again the MFB and State Government have tried to denigrate firefighters with lies.”
Last weekend saw a high number of firefighters unable to work after the suicides of two colleagues within 72 hours from the same fire station. Funerals for the two veterans were held last Friday (11/12) and Monday (14/12).
The MFB’s use of last week’s absences to denigrate firefighters led to a clash between Mr Marshall and MFB acting Chief Officer David Bruce and Deputy Chief Officer Paul Stacchino.
Mr Marshall said it was a disgrace to use the deaths of two firefighters to slur firefighters in today’s Herald Sun.
Peter Marshall, secretary, United Firefighters Union 0419 127 004
See below for the outcome of the Fair Work Commission hearing:
MFB – Planning for periods of heightened operational risk
For the purposes of planning, at times of heightened operational risk, the following will apply:
- The MFB will call its Commanders and Assistant Chief Fire Officers to ask each of them whether they are available to be recalled (outside the executive recall roster arrangements).
- “Available” means that the Commander or Assistant Chief Fire Officer tell the MFB that, at the time of the call, they expect to be available (fit for operational duty) if called.
- Based on their responses, the MFB may call and seek to recall Commanders and Assistant Chief Fire Officers as required during the planning period.
- If a Commander or Assistant Chief Fire Officer has indicated their availability and is no longer available when called to take up duty, there will be no adverse consequences.
- A Commander or Assistant Chief Fire Officer is not required to be available when requested to attend for duty.
- If a Commander or Assistant Chief Fire Officer is recalled, they will be paid as per the applicable industrial instrument.
- These arrangements will allow planning up to 4 days in advance in any circumstances where the Fire Danger Index for the Central Weather District is predicted to be 35 or above.
- The above will continue in place and the MFB commits to there being further consultation on the subject on 12 January 2016.
Strength in Unity
READ OUT AT MUSTER AND PIN ON NOTICE BOARD
Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary