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IRC orders fire union to lift work bans immediately

Published: 21st October 2011

The NSW Industrial Relations Commission has ordered the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union (FBEU) to lift its current firefighter work bans that could cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

This afternoon the IRC delivered its ruling to both parties - Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) and the FBEU - regarding the industrial bans that were imposed by the union yesterday morning.

The work bans were on all relieving, paperwork and administrative duties due to a union disagreement about the staffing of logistic support vehicles and medical retirement of a small number of injured firefighters.

“I remain prepared to meet with the FBEU as soon as they comply with the orders of the IRC. I am encouraged by the IRC’s decision today and hopefully we can very soon get back to business as usual,” said FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins.

“As I have made clear to the union on a number of occasions, I am willing to discuss these issues to work towards a resolution.

“That offer still stands and my hope is the union will comply with the decision of the independent umpire and lift the bans.”

Last night, FRNSW was forced to implement internal contingency plans in response to the bans. A number of stations had reduced crews because the ban on relieving duties created vacancies due to illness and other leave arrangements.

Commissioner Mullins said that the safety of the community was never at risk.

“Our main priority is the safety people of NSW and our firefighters.

“We had plans in place to ensure there were sufficient fire and rescue resources available to respond to all fires and other emergencies.”