NSW firefighters have voted to walk off the job if the state government cuts their workers compensation provisions and death and disability awards.
Up to 150 firefighters gathered at the Sydney headquarters of the Fire Brigade Employees Union (FBEU) on Wednesday and voted in favour of a two hour stop work meeting should legislation be passed confirming the cuts.
“We direct the state committee to call an urgent special general meeting should the government continue to erode the NSW firefighters existing workplace compensation top up entitlements and or death and disability to convert that into a stop work meeting of members,” FBEU state secretary Jim Casey told the crowd.
“We are not going to let them take our protections. We work in a dangerous industry and deserve to be looked after.”
The firefighters later joined thousands of workers for a rally outside parliament house at 12.30pm (AEST) today to protest proposed changes to the workers compensation scheme.
The parliamentary committee’s report on WorkCover is due to be handed down today, after the government said a $4.1 billion deficit had to be reined in.
Unions fear the reforms will lead to injured workers having their benefits slashed.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell says he hasn’t read the parliamentary report yet but says the scheme’s deficit would be reined in.
Unions needed to accept they no longer ran NSW, he added.