On 1 August 1999 our Union began a campaign of direct industrial action, including various bans and stop work action, which ultimately continued in one form or another through until the signing of a “peace agreement” with the NSW Government on 15 December. That agreement included a timetable for the negotiation and conclusion of new awards and new D&D arrangements by 31 March this year. We now have new awards in place for both retained and permanent members, but we still have no agreement on D&D.
The Union’s officials last met with representatives of the Department and the Government on 26 July, and we made our position very, very clear. It was put to them that we were fed-up covering old-ground and re-debating the same points time and again – at the end of the day they have to come out and say whether they will accept our demand for D&D equity, or not. The Government’s representatives at that meeting responded with the promise of a clear response for us at a further meeting which was locked in for today, Wednesday 9 August.
At the time of writing (almost 4.30 pm) there has been no meeting. In fact we haven’t even had the courtesy of a telephone call to explain their failure to show.
The truth is that our Union has been extremely patient throughout the last 18 months of deliberations on D&D. We’ve persisted with peaceful negotiations, despite enduring an ongoing series of missed deadlines and broken promises from the employers, in the hope that there may yet be a turnaround in their form. It is now obvious that there won’t be. For whatever reason – be it arrogance, contempt for firefighters, a mistaken view that we’re not serious, or sheer stupidity – they spat in all of our faces again this afternoon.
Our claim is as simple as it is fair: equal treatment for all members in the event of death or forced medical retirement. It’s also a claim that we will never step back from whilst ever our politicians continue to gorge themselves stupid from the outrageously bloated trough of Parliamentary Superannuation. Their hypocrisy on the D&D question would be almost laughable if it were not so offensive.
Our employers today set the scene for the re-ignition of this dispute, and in doing so they left your elected officials with no option but to reassess our Union’s “peaceful” approach. Stand by for further D&D updates, and
Wednesday 9th August, 2000