Victorian Government bullying forest firefighters

Wednesday 23rd December 2015




The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) has accused the Victorian Government of bullying DELWP forest firefighters with an application to the Fair Work Commission to terminate industrial action, claiming it is endangering life.


AWU Victorian Secretary Ben Davis said it was “set in stone” that any industrial action being taken as part of the campaign for a new Enterprise Agreement would be terminated in the event of an emergency.


“The department knows very well that the forest firefighting force prides itself on its commitment to the community and in no way would ever endanger the well-being of the state or its people,” Mr Davis said.


“The protected action bans being taken are primarily administrative and organisational, to do with where lunch breaks will be taken for example, or ignoring the DELWP ban on taking photographs of themselves at work and the situations they encounter.


“Believe me, there are no lunch breaks when there is a fire emergency and as for taking photographs and publicising their emergency service to Victoria, well that is long overdue.”


In the event of the bans being ordered to be lifted by the FWC tomorrow at the hearing scheduled for 10am, there will be no difference to the way in which DELWP forest firefighters go about their jobs.


“They will still protect the bush and its people, they will put their lives on the line, and a lot of them will miss Christmas with their families,” Mr Davis said.


“I am sure it would be more convenient for DELWP to get them out of sight and out of mind again, back to their role as heroes in green overalls, operating deep behind fire lines and out of media view.”