Bulletin No: 130 Volume: 23 Thursday 19 October 2017
To: All UFU MEMBERS
ONGOING MEDIA COVERAGE DIRECTED TOWARDS THE UFU
As members would be aware, there has been consecutive articles, media report and attacks under parliamentary privilege by Liberal National politicians against the Union, its members and your elected officials. Despite the Union’s lawyers providing written responses to many of the allegations, the media simply choose to ignore them and continue with the vitriolic attack.
We have previously distributed a bulletin emphasising that the welfare of our members is one of the most important factors, if not the most important factor. We have therefore distributed the various support services contact numbers including that of the UFU Welfare Officer. Those numbers are attached to the bottom of this communication and we strongly encourage members to access support services to protect their mental wellness.
What is this all about?
The UFU and its membership have been extremely successful over a lengthy period, defending attacks on conditions and standards whilst being able to achieve enhanced career progression and increased wages and conditions, as well as job security.
It is a matter of public record that the Liberal National Party viciously attacked the fire services when in government. Such attack in part included a $66 million dollar budget cut, the expenditure of $21 million dollars in litigation of fire service money in an attempt to remove conditions of employment and lower the standard of fire cover whilst compromising the safety of firefighters. Additionally, they prevented the recruitment through legal action of a critically needed increase of 342 career firefighters in the CFA as identified by the Royal Commission.
The public were made aware of these matters and the regressive policies of the Liberal National Party during the 2014 election and as a result, the public were so concerned at this regressive attitude towards public safety the LNP were removed from government in part because of their regressive stance and attacks on the fire service and other emergency personnel.
The current Victorian Liberal National Party has continued its attempt to denigrate firefighters, including using them as political pawns in the last federal election campaign, as our members would be well aware.
Some of the more vitriolic media outlets, both electronic and written, are closely aligned to the Liberal National Party and as such have embraced the attack that we are currently experiencing but in reality, this attack against the UFU is an attempt to destabilise the Andrews Government.
It is a matter of public record that the Andrews Government reversed the regressive budget cuts and effects of the previous Liberal National Party Government as well as injecting additional funds and employing more critically needed firefighters.
Membership Meetings and Station Visits
The Branch Committee of Management recognises the impact this political attack has on UFU members and has foreshadowed in the last UFU Bulletin holding a special general meeting to discuss these matters. In the interim if there are any concerns please do not hesitate to contact Branch Secretary Peter Marshall on 0419 127 004.
Alternatively, if time permits, I or a delegate will be attending a number of fire stations in the forthcoming weeks as part of the communication process between the union and its membership.
SUPPORT SERVICES AVAILABLE
As previously notified, there are dedicated support services available including support services for MFB and CFA members, external support services available to everyone, and the additionally the UFU Welfare Officer.
MFB and CFA
Both the MFB and the CFA have support services which members are encouraged to access. The contact details are as follows:
- For MFB personnel there is 24-hour access to a dedicated counselling service with psychologists by calling 1800 451 138 or 1300 366 789. If you call this service you can have immediate access to a psychologist via telephone or alternatively make an appointment. This service is also available for family members.
- Additionally, for MFB personnel there is an extensive peer support programme where a clinician can be accessed by calling 9665 4405 or 0407 665 174 or the Peer Coordinator on 0417 538 289 or 9665 4516.
- CFA members can access Critical Incident Stress Peer Support by calling either the CFA Chaplain Service on 1800 337 068 or the CFA Member Assistance Program 1300 795 711. [Corrected from previous version]
We encourage you to use the above services provided by the MFB and CFA, but if you feel uncomfortable in doing so there are external support services which all can access.
Services available to all:
On the beyondblue website https://www.beyondblue.org.au/ the following support services are listed that are external to the CFA and MFB and that are available to all.
The website has comprehensive information that deals with a range of mental health awareness and the support and help that is available.
The numbers for these services are as follows:
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Suicide Call Back Services 1300 659 467
- beyondblue Support Service 1300 22 4636
UFU Welfare Officer
The UFU has an internal and expanded welfare service for current and retired members, using an extremely highly qualified person whose integrity is beyond reproach. We encourage all members to use this new welfare service.
Ross Fusca has been appointed as the UFU’s Welfare Officer. He can provide assistance to members based on his wealth of expertise.
Ross comes to us with thirty years’ experience in law enforcement with the Australian Federal Police, attaining the substantive rank of Detective Sergeant. Within this role, he held the position of Welfare Officer (Victoria and Tasmania), encompassing portfolios including Return to Work Coordinator, Equal Opportunities Officer, Sexual Harassment Contact Officer, Aboriginal Liaison Officer and Regional Mediator.
Over this time, Ross successfully contributed to a safer and equitable workplace, with a number of his recommendations adopted by AFP management.
Ross will also have at his disposal the ability to refer UFU members to independent external services if required.
Ross can be contacted by members confidentially at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0477 884 456.
The UFU does not, and has never condoned inappropriate workplace behaviours. If any member has a concern please contact the UFU office for assistance.
If you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact the UFU on 9419 8811 or Peter Marshall on 0419 127 004.
Strength in Unity
READ OUT AT MUSTER AND PIN ON NOTICE BOARD
Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary