Call to scrutinise fire pay deal
Victoria’s protracted firefighters pay dispute needs to be investigated, says the Opposition.
Instead of signing a new pay deal, the CFA and the United Firefighters Union have added new conditions to the 2010 enterprise bargaining agreement, including a $3000 bonus, a 19 per cent allowance increase and a yearly $125 sports voucher.
The bonuses and allowances will be back paid to August 12.
An independent review is needed into the ‘‘sweetheart deal’’, says Victorian Liberal Leader Matthew Guy.
‘‘I think there are many questions that still need to be answered about the conduct of the government when it comes to this whole CFA debacle,’’ Mr Guy said last week.
‘‘The auditor-general could certainly be called in to look at this sweetheart deal, there’s no doubt about it.’’
The Andrews Government said the Federal Government’s volunteer laws — introduced in direct response to the CFA pay dispute — were preventing a new deal being signed.
Victorian Emergency Services Minister James Merlino said the CFA and the union agreed on the allowances and bonuses deal ‘‘more than six months ago’’.
‘‘Last week, the Fair Work Commission agreed to this outcome,’’ Mr Merlino said.
Victoria’s fire services have strongly opposed signing new deals they believe hand too much power to the union at the expense of volunteers.
But Premier Daniel Andrews became determined to get a deal done ahead of the most recent fire season, so he pushed for the CFA to give in to the union’s demands.
Former emergency services minister Jane Garrett and CFA’s chief executive and chief fire officer resigned rather than support the deal, and the government sacked the CFA board for refusing to back it.