Bulletin No: 118                     Volume: 24                           Thursday 12 July 2018


        Important update to MFB and CFA members


The UFU has always taken every precaution to protect members’ employment conditions and security of employment.

This includes ensuring your enterprise agreement is certified by the Fair Work Commission.

In addition, it has been customary for the UFU to mirror the enterprise agreement in a common law Deed in the Victoria State jurisdiction.  Other unions do the same.

The purpose of a common law Deed to is to secure the agreed firefighters’ terms and conditions regardless of any implications from, or changes to, the Federal industrial relations legislation and system.  

  • The CFA and MFB operational staff agreements are certified and enforceable through the Fair Work Commission – the Federal jurisdiction.

  • The Deeds contain the same terms and conditions but are enforceable in the Supreme Court – the State jurisdiction.

The Deeds are a very important safety net to ensure you have enforceable terms and conditions of employment regardless of what happens to your enterprise agreements, or your rights under the Fair Work Act 2009.  In short, to protect the conditions in the enterprise agreement if they are compromised by legal attacks or legislative change.  

  • The 2016 MFB UFU Operational Staff Agreement is currently before the Fair Work Commission for certification but has been challenged by the Federal Minister and VEOHRC.  This means there will now be a hearing so the matter will not be resolved for months, possibly longer.

  • The CFA has not sought to have the 2016 CFA UFU Operational Staff Agreement certified because of the implications of the 2016 Fair Work Act Amendment which provides volunteers with the right to challenge the agreement on the basis it may impact volunteers.

Traditionally the MFB and UFU, and the CFA and UFU action the Deeds at the time the enterprise agreements are made/signed.

This has not occurred with the 2016 Operational Staff Agreements.

The CFA and MFB are currently refusing to sign the Deeds to protect the terms of the 2016 operational staff agreements.   We do not understand why both CFA and MFB are refusing to sign the Deeds as we have legal advice that there is no impediment to facilitating the agreed position of initiating the Deeds.  Additionally, it has always been the case and the agreed position that this happens concurrently.  

This development is extremely concerning given that the MFB and CFA are saying that it is the Andrews’ Government who is refusing to sign the Deeds.

We do not think this is correct as we have had a good relationship with the Andrews’ Government. It is hard to understand given that there is no legal impediment as to why the agreed position of the Deeds cannot be simply honoured.

It is also confusing as both the MFB and CFA have embarked upon an extensive campaign to reassure employees that they are valued and supported in their employment.  Without common law Deeds, there is no job security with the current attacks that we are experiencing by the volunteer associations, the Federal Government and VEOHRC.  

The union does not understand why the CFA and MFB say that they value their staff, yet they will not protect your security of employment.    It just does not add up.  This is easily fixed – just sign the Deeds.

We will keep you informed of these developments regarding this important matter. 

Strength in Unity

Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary