Bulletin No: 070                 Volume: 24            Wednesday 18 April 2018




As per the previous Bulletin regarding the appointment of the new MFB Chief Officer/Chief Executive Officer, the UFU wishes to inform members that any claims by President Jasmine Doak that she is seeking to rebuild good relationships with professional firefighters and the UFU do not accord with her actions as President of the MFB.

Jasmine Doak has taken actions that seek to undermine the MFB Operational Enterprise Agreement which enshrines your safety, wellbeing and conditions of employment. Her most recent decision in appointing Dan Stephens to the Chief Officer/CEO of the MFB is no more than a continuation of the underhanded and aggressive industrial tactics by the MFB under her leadership.

For members who are not aware, Jasmine Doak is an industrial lawyer and has been directly involved with multiple anti-union employers. Her work history includes senior legal and management roles at organisations including Minter Ellison, Mazda Australia and Linfox.

Currently Jasmine Doak is the Group Counsel – Employee and Industrial Relations at AGL Energy Ltd. Members may remember that AGL was involved in a bitter dispute with its employees and the Union at the Loy Yang Power Plant where AGL threatened to lock workers out.

Jasmine Doak has demonstrated aggressive industrial relations tactics at the MFB with the attempt to undermine the MFB Operational Staff Agreement earlier this year via the explanatory memorandum which sought to put a new interpretation on the Enterprise Agreement. This interpretation would have undermined the 10/14 roster system, de-regulated the workplace, undermined the consultation and dispute resolution provisions and given unfettered power to the Chief Officer.

Ms Doak and the MFB failed at that attempt after significant intervention by the UFU.

Then Jasmine Doak and the MFB implemented a further plan looking to bring on arbitration over the Agreement by causing controversy in regards to clauses of the Agreement in filing the MFB’s statutory declaration in relation to the Agreement.

Further, in the case of the MFB and UFU, it has been standard practice in the past for the parties to exchange their documentation prior to filing to ensure a smooth process of certification.  Despite repeated reassurances that MFB would not do so, under Ms Doak’s stewardship those promises were broken and the MFB filed directly with the Fair Work Commission.

In her announcement today regarding the new Chief Officer/CEO Jasmine Doak continues to mislead and deceive. For example:

DOAKS CLAIM: “He publicly campaigned against the cuts and when he did have to implement some cuts, he worked with the FBU and made sure that the reduction in funding did not impact operational response. Dan advocated and implemented the highest minimum crewing levels in the UK and this has improved response outcomes and safety for firefighters.”

FACT: In 2016 it was reported that Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service had lost almost a quarter of its full time firefighter positions since 2010 and 5 fire stations had closed. Across England full time firefighter positions had dropped approximately 16 percent. In 2016 it was also reported that the number of fire deaths had doubled in Merseyside during four years of Mr Stephens’ tenure.

DOAKS CLAIM: “Dan has also had a very strong focus on prioritising safety critical training as well as physical and mental health issues for firefighters. He is ever aware and vigilant about the risks of PTSD in fire and emergency service operations and works hard to ensure that his operational staff have all the support they could need.”

FACT: As part of Mersey Fire and Rescue senior management Dan Stephens attempted to coerce firefighters from using personal leave.  Firefighters who had a perfect attendance record were put in an annual draw to win a new car. Further, in a slide show attributed to his name he has stated that one of the advantages of his “flexible rostering” initiatives is a “Values based approach to sickness (there is a direct consequence to going sick)”.

DOAKS CLAIM: “It was also important to me that Dan had a strong record of working collaboratively and effectively with the FBU in the UK.”

FACT: Dan Stephens is reported to have boasted that 100 union members were breaching industrial action that the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) was taking to stop savage cuts that would put the public and firefighters’ lives at great risk.  He was reported to make divide and conquer comments claiming that more union members would strike-break.   Merseyside management later boasted it was on a union-breaking mission by privately funding the legal cases of a handful of Merseyside FBU members who had been expelled for breaching union policy.

Further, in 2006 Fire Brigades Union Secretary Matt Wrack congratulated the Merseyside union members for their stance and the return to work settlement they achieved after taking strike action.  He stated:

It is clear to anyone who bothers to look that they faced not just a direct attack in terms of cuts but also an agenda based on attempting to divide and attack the Fire Brigades Union itself. To their enormous credit, the Merseyside members stood firm in the face of this and in the face of provocative and intimidatory tactics.”

The UFU is bitterly disappointed that the Labor Andrews’ Government has supported Jasmine Doak in her ongoing anti-union industrial tactics and that they have allowed her free reign in attempts to dismantle your conditions of employment, lower your safety standards and attack your reputation and professionalism.


Strength in Unity

Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary