November 12, 1997

(Stn’s 26, 35, 13, 29, 28, 10, 5, 9, 20, 1, 100, Insp. Sth – and ALL members)

As part of the current Union bans and limitations in place throughout the state, all members are instructed to neither participate in, nor attend the joint services’ emergency drill scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday 13th November at Kingsford-Smith Airport, Mascot.

The blame for the current dispute can be laid squarely at the Department’s feet, and it is the Department’s responsibility to resolve it by agreeing to return to the previous status-quo with regard to “fitness” testing – ie that there be none until such time as there is consultation and agreement between the parties.

It follows that management will be responsible for any loss of profile for the NSWFB, or any embarrassment caused to the Minister and/or the Brigades. The Department’s level of contempt for your employment can be measured by the fact that management has made no effort whatsoever to contact the Union or attempt to resolve this dispute since the introduction of bans at 1800 hours last Friday 7th November.

Besides, if any member were to injure themselves during the course of the drill exercise and thereby find themselves on workers’ compensation, they might now never be returned to full-duties. That’s only one potential consequence of the Department’s current attack on firefighters – permanent and retained.

The Union regrets the need to impose such bans. However, your job-security, and the need for appropriate protection for you and your dependents in the event that you might be injured, are far more important issues than the NSWFB’s participation in any drill. It is unfortunate, but nonetheless true, that the Department only ever takes the Union seriously when it is directly threatened by such bans. The Department started this dispute – the Department can resolve it.


Yours fraternally,

Chris Read,

State Secretary

Wednesday 12th November, 1997