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Issue #1481      17 November 2010

SA firefighters ripped off

Firefighters around Australia have condemned the South Australian government for ripping off the entitlements of their SA colleagues.

Under legislation passed through SA Parliament last week, firefighters face unilateral cuts to their long service entitlements. On average this will cost each firefighter $1,500 a year.

United Firefighters of Australia national secretary Peter Marshall says firefighters nationally are appalled at the actions of the SA government.

“This is Mike Rann’s version of WorkChoices,” Mr Marshall said.

“But whereas John Howard just set up a framework for employers, the Rann government has gone further – using the law to strip away workers’ entitlements.”

South Australian firefighters only gained long service leave in 2002 after lengthy negotiations with the government. The legislation will over-ride the firefighters’ enterprise agreement and even prevent them from negotiating around this issue in the future.

“This is an extraordinary way to treat men and women who put their life on the line for community safety,” said Mr Marshall. “It’s a slap in the face as we prepare for another fire season.

“Despite the public acknowledgement they give emergency services workers, what the government really cares about is balancing the budget by pinching from the pockets of working people.

“The United Firefighters Union of Australia condemns the Rann Labor government for their attacks on firefighters, and the undermining on the core Labor value of collective bargaining.”  

Next article – WA rally against Taser use

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