United Firefighters Union – time to go

June 11, 2010

Members would be aware of the April Special General Meeting decision to cease financially supporting the United Firefighters Union of Australia (UFUA), NSW Branch.

The Union’s officials have this week reviewed the situation and now recommend that all FBEU members should resign from the failed organisation that is the UFUA. All 14 FBEU State Committee officials, myself included, have done so already.

We do not make this decision lightly, but have been left with no choice. That the UFUA fails to represent NSW firefighters is nothing new. But recent events have been so far beyond the pale that it is time to take a stand.

Over the last six months there have been a number of new developments. Firstly, the UFUA commenced Federal Court action against the FBEU and its officials in December 2009. Secondly, the UFUA in January then stripped the NSW Branch of all voting rights. And finally, whilst the NSW Branch (which makes up one-third of the UFUA’s National Committee, and almost half of the UFUA’s membership) was locked out, the National Committee voted to increase branch fees by 150%.

To put this in context, rather than forwarding $100,000 a year to the National Office they now expect NSW firefighters to prop them up to the tune of over a quarter of a million dollars. That’s the equivalent of an additional three or four FBEU staff to help service members in NSW.

The April SGM decision to cut off funding to the UFUA was intended to bring the UFUA back to the negotiating table, and to try to rebuild a National Union worthy of the name. This has not been successful.

So it is time to go. The UFUA is a waste of your money and your officials time. We can more effectively assist firefighters in other states by doing it in the name of the FBEU, under NSW control, rather than throwing good money after bad into an organisation that simply doesn’t work.

If you can’t remember joining the UFUA, it’s because the UFUA’s rules automatically deemed all members of the FBEU at the time of the UFUA’s registration in 1990 to be members of the UFUA’s NSW Branch as well. Around 1991 the FBEU began using dual membership application forms which joined members to both unions, however this was discontinued in late 2007 when the Union reverted to FBEU-only forms. If you’re not sure whether you’re a UFUA member or not, we recommend that you sign the form anyway. We will ensure that all resignations are forwarded to the UFUA’s NSW Branch Secretary on your behalf.

Pro-forma resignation forms have been attached to this notice. Alternatively you can obtain them from your SCOM official, the Union Office, or they can be download from the Union’s website. Any member wanting further information can contact either their local SCoM official, or me directly at the Union’s office on 92183444.

Jim Casey

State Secretary



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