Stop work cancelled – Why?

December 3, 1999

The reason is (or was) simple – the Department in writing agreed in full to our demands prior to our deadline of 1000 hours. The problem now is that the Commissioner has attempted a monumental backflip on his own offer after we agreed, and after we called the stop work action off.

The Union wrote to the Department on 30 November threatening a stop work today if they didn’t agree to:

  • enter into meaningful Award negotiations by 1000 hours today, and
  • provide a response to the Union’s Award application by that time.

At approximately 0900 hours this morning we received a letter from the Commissioner, within which he clearly agreed to our demands as follows:

“I refer to your letter dated 30 November seeking:


  1. Commencement of negotiations by 10 am today on the Award, and
  2. A written response to the Union’s Award application, lodged with the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) on 29 October.


I confirm that the Department has met the above conditions and seek your immediate confirmation of the cancellation of the foreshadowed industrial action.”

Deal done. At 0945 hours we advised the Department that the stop work action would be cancelled as a result of the Commissioner’s letter. We also began calling stations, with most members being advised of the cancellation by 1000 hours.

The Department then called at 1010 hours (too late to restart our action) to say that there will be no negotiations until all of our 4 month old D&D bans are lifted! There was no mention of this anywhere in the Commissioner’s letter to us, and they knew we would never had agreed to it if there had been.


  1. The Commissioner sends his letter to every station, & before it’s sent to the Union office, offering to begin talks immediately if we call off our stop work;
  2. The Commissioner sends another letter, but this time only to the Union office and after we call off the stop work, requiring us to lift all bans before talks start;
  3. The stop work averted, the Commissioner then removes all traces of his original letter from the Brigades’ intranet ( a copy is now up on our website).

Chris Read

State Secretary



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