In many countries around the world, firefighters and their hard won conditions of employment have and still are, being attacked by conservative politicians. This ideological driven process is designed to undermine and besmirch their unions. The aim being to weaken their unions influence and through favourable media coverage, also gain support from the general public and in doing this, Australia is no different. In particular, career firefighters in the State of Victoria have suffered immensely from this approach, which was heartily supported by the Prime Minister and the conservative Federal Liberal Government. One outcome of this was that, those same firefighters have not had a pay rise in 6 years but, the other more insidious outcome, was the result this attack has had on many firefighters mental health and well being.
Re-printed below is the feelings of one of these firefighters from Melbourne, which he posted on Facebook following another false and misleading article published in the Herald Sun.
“I love my job. The one thing I despise isn’t even in the job description. It’s the fact that it’s used by the media/journalists in conjunction with politicians (***Matthew Guy) for ulterior purposes.
Yesterday’s front page headlines (particularly in the Herald Sun) were strategically designed to mislead the masses and cause anger.
It was reported that firefighters would be getting a sudden 19% pay rise and 200 days leave per year in a new deal.
The information was conveniently portrayed this way as they want to pin this on Premier Daniel Andrews that he has ‘rolled over’ and this is important for the opposition as it’s an ELECTION YEAR.
What they intentionally left out was that the 19% pay rise was over a 6 YEAR PERIOD.
The 200 days leave they calculated was a journalist conveniently adding up every and any type of leave available like compassionate leave (someone in your immediate family dies), paternity leave, carers leave, defense force leave, sick leave etc. This is nothing new and is an industry standard.
We get 65 days annual leave not 200 and we like most other shift workers are rostered on public holidays. A decent portion of the extra annual leave is due to the fact we work an average 42 hour week, those extra couple of hours are accrued as leave as opposed to paid as overtime.
What sucks is Fireys like myself are left in a position where we have to defend ourselves from misleading information that is put out there time and time again. We can’t buy a front page headline to tell the truth of a topic, so they will continue to tell lies. All we can do is explain the truth in person and through Facebook for now.
This reminds me to be careful of what I read/hear through the news as there’s so much blatant manipulation particularly when there’s an election to be won. The Liberals in Victoria (led by Matthew Guy) can be so dirty and funnily enough are the first ones to throw firefighters, police and paramedics under the bus often through their journalist friends in the Herald Sun newspaper in Victoria.”