D&D Dispute – Latest Correspondence

October 22, 1999

1. Government to Union


Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place
Sydney NSW 2000

22 October 1999

Mr Chris Read
New South Wales Fire Brigade
Employees’ Union
267 Sussex Street

Dear Mr Read

Matter No IRC4048/99

As you are aware this matter is listed before a Full Bench of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission next Tuesday (26/10/99) for further consideration of the Public Employment Office’s application for Directions to end the current industrial action.

I have today received a report from the NSW Fire Brigades which concludes that ‘the safety of the public is at risk due to the dispute’. This conclusion is drawn following an assessment in the past 48 hours of premises that are affected by the bans on the connection of automatic fire alarms. Other bans are having an affect on the Brigade’s operations but none so serious as the bans relating to the connection of new automatic fire alarms to the Brigade’s monitoring system.

I request that your union immediately lift the bans relating to the connection of new automatic fire alarms to the Brigade’s monitoring system so that the NSW Fire Brigade Commissioner can take immediate action to restore public safety.

If your organisation refuses this request I shall immediately apply to the Industrial Relations Commission for an expedited hearing of the Government’s current application for directions. Additionally, the Government will apply for such other order and/or directions necessary to restore public safety.

I ask that you respond by 5.00 pm today.

Yours sincerely
Col Gellatly
Director General


 2. Union Response to Government

New South Wales Fire Brigade Employees’ Union

267 Sussex Street
Sydney NSW 2000

22nd October, 1999

Dr Col Gellatly
Director General
NSW Premier’s Department
GPO Box 5341
Sydney NSW 2001

(By facsimile: 9228 3322)

Dear Dr Gellatly,

I write in response to your correspondence received by facsimile at approximately 1615 hours this afternoon.

As you are aware, the Union’s current bans and limitations have been in place since 1800 hours on Friday 27 August. There has been no concern expressed concerning the Union’s ban on the connection of new automatic fire alarms prior to this afternoon, and when it is finally raised you seek a response within 45 minutes. Not surprisingly, I have been unable to contact the elected officials of the State Committee of Management. The Union has been unable to properly consider your request, and therefore cannot convey its agreement or otherwise.

That being said, in light of this week’s proceedings before the IRC this newly alleged risk to public safety can only be seen as a contrivance. It is certainly a stunning (if not incredulous) admission to suggest that the NSW Fire Brigades – after 56 consecutive days of these bans – have only reached this assessment “in the past 48 hours”.

At the end of the day (which I note it now is), you can rest safe in the reassurance of none other than the Minister for Emergency Services, who has advised his parliamentary colleagues that:

“The union is now engaging in industrial bans. These do not pose any threat to public safety.”

Yours faithfully,
Chris Read
State Secretary

 ATTENTION MEMBERS: All current industrial bans and limitations remain firmly in place.



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