Bulletin No:         154                                     Volume:  20                        Thursday July 10 2014

To all MFB Members / Operational staff employees


It has been brought to the UFU’s attention that Commanders have been instructed to approach to MFB firefighters and officers to reconsider using the MFB email system to voice their concerns and opposition to the MFB’s applications to terminate the Operational Staff Enterprise Agreement and ACFO Enterprise Agreement.

A number of firefighters and officers have emailed CEO Jim Higgins and Chief Officer Peter Rau in response to their emails where they have attempted to portray to staff that the applications to terminate the agreements were in the interests of the MFB and that all would be well if they were successful.

Understandably firefighters, officers including up to ACFOs that would be detrimentally and significantly affected by any such termination have seen through the MFB’s façade and have independently emailed their views back copying in all employees, as had Mr Higgins and Mr Rau.

It is clear that Mr Higgins and Mr Rau have two sets of rules when it comes to open and transparent communication within the MFB as an organisation. That is do as I say not as I do.

Even more importantly, Mr Higgins and Mr Rau are attempting to editoralise or limit any criticism from employees that would be affected by the MFB’s actions.

One would have thought that it was in the interests of the MFB to listen to the views of their employees, in particular when their employees bring to the attention of Mr Higgins and Mr Rau the inconsistencies or incorrectness of the claims that they had made regarding the effect of the MFB’s attempt to wipe out both the Operational Staff and ACFO Enterprise Agreements.

Firefighting is a stressful occupation and morale is important to ensure that firefighters are able to perform their tasks without having to worry about their conditions of employment and/or their employment and career path as whole.

Responsible employers would listen and encourage feedback, inclusive of any disappointment by their employees. Additionally there is an implied legal obligation trust and confidence by the MFB to their employees and actions that clearly offend the spirit and effect of this obligation could only be viewed as one that is detrimental and the causation of long lasting damage to this employment relationship.

Firefighters that have been approached have been advised to consider the MFB Workplace Behaviour Policy and in particular, responsibilities such as “all employees have a responsibility to treat each other fairly and are expected to be courteous, polite and respectful to each other in fulfilling these responsibilities as a condition of employment.”

Mr Higgins and Mr Rau, and their senior executive team, seem to forget that they are also bound by MFB Policies regarding standards of behaviour.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

The UFU appreciates the solidarity that has been exhibited during this difficult time and reminds everyone that if they have concerns, they are entitled to raise those concerns.

During the current termination case hearing, the MFB have complained that firefighters were taking their concerns to the union rather than through their chain of command and now are trying to gag firefighters from raising their concerns and valid points directly with management. It is clear the MFB are a bit confused.

If there are any queries in relation to this matter, please contact the UFU office or Branch Secretary Peter Marshall.

Strength in Unity


Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary