After four days in the Fair Work Commission – at a conservative cost of $20,000 a day of taxpayers’ money – the MFB has been forced to back down on a number of its attempts to denigrate Melbourne firefighters.
Claims made by MFB senior management in their witness statements supplied to the Commission and media have not held up under cross-examination.
Chief Officer Peter Rau
- Did not know there was an ultra large pumper at Fire Station 1 (Eastern Hill). He said he did not know the locations of the various types of appliances. All he had to do was look at the minimum crewing schedule in the agreement he is trying to wipe out!
- Criticised the UFU for supporting a residents’ campaign over the MFB’s failure to replace a heavy pumper at Sunshine but then admitted he did not what the dispute was about.
- Said it was” ludicrous” that firefighters at the Hazelwood Mine fire site were raising safety concerns through the UFU but conceded that the UFU had acted responsibly and with good intentions to resolve matters. He also later conceded firefighters may have not had any confidence in the command structures at the mine fire to address their safety concerns. He concluded that questioning with a “ludicrous” email he had seen from a firefighter and then had to admit he did not know the background to the firefighter’s concerns.
- Agreed that firefighters should raise grievances and disputes when they have concerns.
- Agreed it was appropriate for the union to raise grievances and disputes.
Acting Deputy Chief Officer Andrew Zammitt
- Agreed with the current standard of 7 on ground before firefighters can begin.
- Agreed that the current minimum crewing levels which the MFB want to change are appropriate.
Deputy Chief Officer David Yousseff
- Could offer no evidence to back his claim of a negative culture within the MFB and that the UFU obstructs worthwhile change.
- Gave a disputed version of a discussion with the UFU President. His senior colleague Paul Stacchino, who was also present, backed the UFU President’s account.
Executive Craig Lloyd
- Said that in his experience in other workplaces, consultation works but without the degree that the UFU and MFB operate.
- Said he did not agree that firefighters putting their lives on the line was significantly different to other workplaces.
Deputy Chief Officer Paul Stacchino
- Agreed that MFB has achieved number of measures toward greater interoperability between emergency services agencies under the current agreement.
- Didn’t provide evidence that more couldn’t be achieved under the current EBA.
For more information contact Peter Marshall, Secretary, United Firefighters Union 0419 127 004 or 03 9419 8811.