October 24, 1998


On July 17 the Union issued a notice to all members (following on from previous notices dated May 11 and 13) which concluded by advising that “the PFU filed a comprehensive application to the Employment Court and the High Court for injunctions against the mass sackings and the mass cuts to the NZ Fire Service.”

On Thursday 15th October, the NZ court decision was handed down. In summarising a very lengthy judgment, the Court found that:

[Read more]

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July 17, 1998

The Union issued notices to members on May 11 and 13, advising that the NZ Fire Service had just informed all of NZ’s 1600 professional firefighters that their jobs would be “disestablished” by July 1 – that is to say, they were being sacked.

The NZ Professional Firefighters Union (PFU) commenced a campaign to inform the public of the consequences of the management “restructure”, which features: [Read more]

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May 13, 1998

I write further to Monday’s notice advising that NZ Fire Service management had written to each of the 1700 professional firefighters last Thursday telling them they had been sacked. Not surprisingly, the NZ Professional Firefighters Union (NZPFU) was not very impressed – least of all the sacked members! The NZPFU has retaliated with a public and legal campaign of opposition to the mass sacking of its membership, which is what most people might expect a Union which was fighting to save its membership’s job to do. Not management though! [Read more]

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May 11, 1998

In the most concerted attack ever on professional firefighters, New Zealand Fire Service management has announced that every professional firefighter will be sacked by July, and replaced by new “Fire Officer” positions. The ‘dis-established’ firefighters will have to compete for the reduced number of new positions available alongside volunteers and the general public. 100’s of jobs will disappear.

The similarity to the Australian waterfront dispute is no coincidence. Like the MUA (and FBEU), the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union (NZPFU) has 100% membership amongst the country’s professional firefighting staff. Like ‘honest’ Chris Corrigan’s Patrick Stevedores, NZ Fire Service management have one real goal in mind – to de-unionise the existing workforce. With the Union out of the way, management will be able to carve up jobs, wages and conditions with ease. [Read more]

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April 21, 1998

Last week Mr Mark Paterson, Executive Director of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (a large bosses’ union), had this to say when asked whether other employers should be encouraged by Patrick’s tactics in sacking a unionised workforce which refuses to accept management ‘reforms’:

“The waterfront has been unwilling to do it, and if there are other sectors of the economy that are unwilling to do it, this is a lesson for them.” [Read more]

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April 21, 1998

Dear Comrade,

Over the last week or so, the Union has attempted to visit as many member stations/workplaces as possible in order to explain and discuss the waterfront dispute. We have managed to make around 50 or so such visits, each lasting around one hour. However, with almost 100 stations in Sydney alone, and four platoons per station (meaning 400 visits) it is virtually impossible for elected officials to visit every member. This is why our delegate network is so important. [Read more]

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March 17, 1998


Laurie Oakes of the Bulletin reports:

“The Government has never been interested in genuine talks with the MUA about improving productivity on the waterfront….

The aim was to create a public issue where the Government could be seen to defeat the MUA….

‘It was all about provoking a shitfight with the wharfies’….

Senior members of John Howard’s Government have made no secret of their hope that the next election would be held against the backdrop of industrial disputation on the waterfront.” [Read more]

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