BULLETIN

Bulletin No: 073                Volume: 24            Friday 20 April 2018

To: All UFU MEMBERS

WHY IS THE UFU DEEPLY

CONCERNED WITH THE APPOINTMENT

OF FIRE CHIEF DAN STEPHENS?

A number of members have asked for clarification as to why the UFU is so concerned with the appointment of Dan Stephens to MFB Chief Fire Officer/CEO.

There have been numerous inaccurate reports in the media this week.  

I have made contact with the Fire Brigades Union General Secretary Matt Wrack and Assistant General Secretary Andy Dark and they have confirmed they have not made any comments as reported in the media, and nor would they.

A review of the draconian measures implemented by Merseyside Fire and Rescue and Dan Stephens are scarily close to the attacks on MFB firefighters’ terms and conditions of employment that the UFU has successfully stopped in recent history.

We have seen Dan Stephens’ brand of operational response and industrial relations before and we fought hard then to ensure that ideology did not succeed.  Some examples are:

  • Dan Stephens’ rostering philosophy stems from the dangerous belief that Fire Chiefs can determine whether it will be a high-incident day. They use data rather than safety to determine firefighter numbers and response times:

UFU experience:

  • In 2014 the then MFB Acting Chief Officer Andrew Zammit told the Fair Work Commission that minimum crewing should be abolished and replaced with “making a decision (based on prevailing conditions and need) to utilise secondary trucks to fill some gaps and then recall 30 instead of 70 firefighters”.

  • Dan Stephens’ operational response model removes mandatory two-appliance response resulting in firefighters being dispatched without back-up. Previously, firefighters have even been dispatched on motorbikes.

UFU experience:

  • In 2014 the then MFB Commander Darren McQuade told the Fair Work Commission that two trucks do not need to be dispatched and claimed all bin fires can be “easily controlled” with one truck.
  • In 2014 during a heatwave the MFB wanted to dispatch firefighters in cars without backup.

  • Dan Stephens’ pursues perfect attendance records which ignores the very real health and wellbeing issues for firefighters.   Merseyside had a policy of putting firefighters with perfect attendance records in the draw for a new car.

UFU experience:

  • In 2013 the MFB supported a report that attacked firefighters taking leave while the UFU produced credible research that demonstrated the high incidence of Post Traumatic Stress symptoms amongst firefighters.

Dan Stephens’ catch cry is flexibility.  Flexibility is just a guise for smashing rosters and minimum crewing which decimates your safe systems of work.

Former MFB Chief Officer Peter Rau also wanted to remove minimum crewing.  He promoted an ad hoc rostering system to the Fair Work Commission claiming it was “outdated” to backfill a station, that rank and staffing ratios were just “historic” and not based on “organisational need or community risk”.

Like Dan Stephens’, Peter Rau thought he had a crystal ball:

“In my view the State Control Team would provide the initial (first layer) of information which would confirm upcoming weather, receive information from Victoria Police regarding events, arson activity etc, before any decision on resourcing is made.”

Members will be fully informed of recent events and these concerns at the:

SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING

MARITIME UNION OF AUSTRALIA AUDITORIUM

46-54 Ireland St, West Melbourne VIC 3003

MONDAY 23 APRIL 2018

9:30am AND 7:30pm

Strength in Unity
READ OUT AT MUSTER AND PIN ON NOTICE BOARD

Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary