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#FRNSW Fire station staffing dispute @FBEU heads to #IRC – ABC News

Fire station staffing dispute heads to IRC

Posted July 30, 2012 08:17:51

A dispute over proposed changes to staffing at New South Wales fire stations will go before the Industrial Relations Commission today.

Fire and Rescue New South Wales wants to temporarily shut stations on days where there are not enough staff to cover a shift.

It says it is aimed at reducing the cost of paying other staff overtime to cover leave or sickness.

The Fire Brigade Employees Union warns it could cost lives and affect crews’ response to emergencies.

The State Opposition’s emergency services spokesman Nathan Rees says the plan to close stations is unacceptable.

“The firefighters are right to take the decision to the Industrial Relations Commission,” he said.

“The decision…will mean up to eight stations will be shut at any one time and that inevitably will mean it will take longer for a fire truck and firefighters to get to a fire in a home or business.”

Fire and Rescue says its plan is nothing new and that stations are routinely covered by another station when they are shut for reasons such as training.

Commissioner Greg Mullins has told the ABC that he hopes the changes will address a culture of staff taking sickies which last year saw the budget blow out by $7 million.

Topics: unions, states-and-territories, emergency-planning, nsw

About Darin Sullivan (1967 Articles)
President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union and a professional firefighter with more than 25 years’ experience. Father of two daughters, he lives and works on the NSW South Coast, Australia. He is a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around him. He is a Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and works with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist he has long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. Now a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and has decades of experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. He is passionate about highlighting the impact climate change is having on fire preparedness and fire behaviour in Australia, and the risks associated with inaction on climate change. Darin is also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.
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