Our thoughts are with our Victorian colleagues – both paid and volunteer – who have been well and truly exhausted by years of responding to very challenging public campaigns aimed at dismantling the CFA that has seen the resignation/dismissal of the Minister, CFA Chief, CFA Board and a whole bunch of other senior people who stood up for volunteers.
Here’s an article from the ABC that explains some of the latest shenanigans in the lead up to their State election next Saturday.
Trades Hall condemns firefighters’ union over ‘bullying’ of Victorian Labor MP Jane Garrett
Just a week before the Victorian election, Trades Hall has told the United Firefighters Union to stop bullying Upper House Labor candidate Jane Garrett — but the union said it made “no apology” for holding her accountable.
In a break with the tradition of not criticising other unions, Trades Hall unanimously passed a motion calling on the firefighters’ union to stop targeting the Labor MP.
“Bullying behaviour is unacceptable and is an affront to the values of the trade union movement, and the personal targeting of Jane Garrett must stop,” the motion stated.
But the United Firefighters Union (UFU) is not backing down, accusing unions backing the former cabinet minister of hypocrisy.
The UFU and Ms Garrett had a spectacular falling-out when she was emergency services minister over negotiations for a workplace deal for paid members of the CFA.
She resisted the union’s claims, instead backing the CFA board. Ultimately Premier Daniel Andrews backed the union and Ms Garrett resigned from cabinet.
But since then, the union has pursued Ms Garrett, challenging her preselection for a safe Upper House seat, including a failed court case in the Supreme Court.
In recent days the union published a how-to-vote card calling on voters to put Ms Garrett last.
In response to that, Mr Andrews called on the UFU to stop its campaign.
“It’s bullying, it’s wrong and it should stop,” he said.
That how-to-vote card has since been withdrawn.
Marshall slams union ‘hypocrisy’
UFU state secretary Peter Marshall said the union made “no apology” for calling out Ms Garrett, and hit out at other unions.
“The UFU has a long and proud history of advocating for trade union members, which has involved making politicians accountable for their actions against unions and their members,” he said.
“Ms Garrett is no different to the LNP politicians and their approach to unions.
“Clearly the motion is moved by ill-informed people who have no understanding of the anti-union, anti-worker conduct of Jane Garrett.”
Mr Marshall said the campaign would continue to hold Ms Garrett “accountable for the damage she recklessly did to firefighters and their families”.
“The hypocrisy of some unions who support Garrett is breathtaking,” he said.
“I assume they will apply the same ill-informed view to anti-union, anti-worker LNP politicians — sadly I think not.”
It is highly unusual for unions to criticise each other.
Ms Garrett told ABC Radio Melbourne it was important for every workplace to be safe and that there had been an “ongoing long-term campaign of bullying and harassment”.
“It’s about standing up and saying people do suffer and suffer significantly with workplace bullying and we aren’t going to cop it,” Ms Garrett said.
Trades Hall secretary Luke Hilakari said the union movement wanted to focus on the election and to stamp out bullying.
“We want to live our values,” he told the ABC.
“We have bigger things to focus on like the rights, conditions and wages of millions of Victorian workers.”
The motion also said: “The Premier of Victoria was right to call out bullying behaviour and that it is unacceptable in any workplace in Victoria.”
It was moved by the Community and Public Sector Union secretary Karen Batt and seconded by Julie Warren from the National Union of Workers.