In the past month the capitalist press has been plastered with stories about the breakdown of Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) negotiations between the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and the United Firefighters Union (UFU).
Unable to reach a settlement, the Premier Daniel Andrews felt compelled to intervene. He sacked the entire CFA board and accepted the resignations of Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett and the CEO of the CFA, Lucinda Nolan.
Much of the capitalist press have deliberately distorted the dispute and tried to paint it as an attempt by the UFU to “takeover” the CFA. In the lead up to the election the pro-Liberal press were hoping to take advantage of the impasse and paint Labor as being too close to the unions.
As well as pay increases, the main aims of the UFU have been to improve response times and safety. While the role played by CFA volunteers is crucial, there is no doubt that suburbs on the urban fringe should have more paid full time firefighters.
Firefighting is an essential public service and we should demand more resources for the sector. The UFU should be supported in their struggle to improve the conditions of one of the most dangerous and necessary jobs in society.
By Socialist Party reporters