The Andrews Government is set to push through its controversial firefighting deal, following assurances from the president of the Fair Work Commission that "there is no veto" powers for the militant United Firefighters Union.
One of the chief concerns of the defiant CFA board and volunteers is a fear that the agreement would give the union "veto" powers over decision making.
Industrial Relations Minister Natalie Hutchins on Thursday told parliament she had spoken to Fair Work Commissioner president Iain Ross to seek assurances the role of volunteers would be protected and more women would be encouraged to become firefighters.
"The president assured me the proposed agreement does not hurt the role of volunteers. The commission has been clear; the EBA does not prevent volunteers undertaking their role,” she said.
Ms Hutchins told parliament to "have no doubt" the agreement would be resolved. "The role of the volunteers will be protected, diversity will be improved and most importantly Victorians will have a better fire service," she said.
Despite this, local volunteer Ian Ireland says clarification is needed that volunteers won’t be affected by veto powers.
“First of all, why should a union have control over a fire service?” he asked. “They say it won't have an impact, but prove it won't have an impact.
“Once you've got a contract in place, you can't change and if you've got a veto clause in there, then it affects volunteers. It's how we're told to operate. If those procedures change, then it does affect us and how we do operate.”
Mr Ireland said there is much “angst” over the bitter dispute among the Ballan station.
A statement to The Courier by the UFU said “in the 405 page proposed 2016 UFU Operational EBA, there is no mention of the word "veto" in the entire document”.
Other details in the EBA include a requirement for seven professional firefighters to be dispatched to fight fires and the prohibition of professional volunteers being commanded by CFA volunteers.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy called on Ms Garrett to resign if power was handed over to the union.
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