The rift between CFA and the state government continues to fester despite a union deal being all but sealed as some local brigade captains report low morale and a sense of being left in the dark.
The CFA Board endorsed an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement with the professional fire fighter’s union on Friday but the protracted dispute appears far from over as Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria vow to take the matter to the courts.
“The morale is very low but as far as our brigade goes we’re not going to change,” Hepburn Fire Brigade captain Barry Yanner said.
“They feel that it’s going to change and they feel they’ve been let down.”
Mr Yanner tells his crew the brigade will continue as it always has done – regardless of any union directive.
The morale is very low but as far as our brigade goes we’re not going to change.- Hepburn Fire Brigade captain Barry Yanner
In his 55 years with the brigade there had been big changes for the better, but there was no reason to change operations as they were now, he said.
“Just leave this EBA out of it, I don’t care what the unions get, they can get their pay rises but don’t interfere with the CFA.
“We’re only a volunteer organisation, as we said will they sack us?”
“We’re not getting paid to do anything, we’re here for the public.”
Glenlyon Fire Brigade captain Brett Mason, who supports VFVB taking legal action, said volunteers had been left in the dark about the EBA.
The Glenlyon Brigade has about 80 members – a big brigade for a small town, Mr Mason said.
“I think that they should be leaving the volunteers (alone).
“We give up our time to do what we do and I think we should be looked after pretty well but we’re not at the present time.”
Another local fire brigade captain told The Courier any understanding of the EBA’s implications had been muddied by hearsay and rumours.
“It's the rumour and innuendo ... I think at the very start if they'd come out and been more open then the whole thing might have worked better.”
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