Friday, August 3, 2012

NSW Emergency Services Minister: firefighter cuts to go ahead #NSWpol

NSW emergency services minister Michael Gallacher says he's made it clear to firefighters that the government is sticking to its plans to cut costs.

Mr Gallacher met with the Fire Brigades Employees Union (FBEU) in Sydney on Thursday before the union entered a private mediation session with Fire and Rescue NSW in front of the industrial umpire.

The union is fighting against $64 million of budget cuts to employee entitlements planned over four years, which it says will result in the temporary closure of fire stations.

Following the meeting, FBEU state secretary Jim Casey said Mr Gallacher had promised to raise the issue of temporary fire station closures when cabinet met next week.

On Friday, Mr Gallacher said he had stressed to the union that the budget cuts would go ahead.

"I said to them we are proceeding with the saving strategy," Mr Gallacher told reporters in Sydney.

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"I have indicated to them that I wish them to continue discussing alternative saving measures with (NSW Fire and Rescue commissioner Greg Mullins).

"But at the end of the day that is a matter for Mr Mullins in terms of where those savings need to be made."

In the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) hearing on Thursday, Justice Frances Backman ordered a week-long delay in the policy of having up to eight Sydney fire stations temporarily shut down a day so firefighters could fill shortages elsewhere.

The IRC case continues next Thursday.

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