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» Vic EB full bench reaction

Employer group targets UFU application

The UFU's Victorian Branch's EB campaign to have a single agreement covering all MFB (Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board) operational staff has got employers hopping.

In early September, the UFU Victorian Branch lodged an application with Fair Work Australia (FWA) seeking a ‘scope order’ to negotiate a single agreement to cover all operational staff, from Recruit to ACFO.

The fire and emergency services industry requires a high degree of teamwork and unity to provide the best possible protection to a community or individual when they need it. The Union thinks this should be reflected in a single enterprise agreement for operational Members.

With uncertainty surrounding the implementation of the Federal government’s new Fair Work laws, the UFU requested and gained a reference to a FWA full bench for determination. The full bench, headed by FWA president Geoff Giudice, has set aside five days in December to hear the Union's application.

ACTU support
The ACTU has applied to become part of the case, in support of the Union. On the other side, an employers umbrella group, The Australian Industry Group (AI) has also applied to intervene as it opposes any moves to include managerial jobs in Union negotiated collective agreements.

The Australian quotes ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence saying workers should have the right to decide whether they wanted to be covered by one agreement. "In this case, the employees of the MFB from firefighters to management ranks want to be covered by the same collective agreement," said Jeff. "The AI Group appear to believe that so-called blue and white-collar employees do not share common interests. That is for the employees to decide."

It looks like shaping up to be a test case about Fair Work Australia's powers over disputes about the scope of enterprise bargaining under the Rudd Government's new industrial relations system.
More information
UFUA Dispatch September edition.
How the Murdoch media reported the story.