Firefighters' wage rise may be delayed

Glen Elmes.
Glen Elmes. Geoff Potter

STRIKE action planned by Queensland firefighters will only further delay a 2.7% wage rise offer, the State Government has warned.

It was revealed on Tuesday, that 99% of firefighters across the state voted in a secret ballot in favour of industrial action.

The action will involve bans on non-emergency work, starting on Friday.

Firefighters are unhappy with the Government's offer of a 2.7% wage increase each year for three years in return for changes to conditions.

The Newman Government also will cut funding to four fire prevention programs.

Minister Assisting the Premier and Noosa MP Glen Elmes urged firefighters to continue engaging with the Government.

"What the Government would like to urge the firefighters to do is to continue to engage with the Government so that the 2.7% wage increase, that we have indicated we are prepared to pass on each year for three years, is able to progress to the firefighters and their families as quickly as possible," he said.

Mr Elmes warned unions the situation could lead to arbitration, which would delay the current offer for years.

United Firefighters' Union Queensland claims the Government's actions will put the lives of the public and firefighters at risk through cuts to its funding and conditions.

But Mr Elmes disagrees.

"We are not putting firefighters' lives at risk at all," he told reporters in Brisbane on Tuesday.

"We have come up with what we believe is a very good offer for firefighters."

Firefighters also are concerned about the Government's proposal for casualisation of the fire service.

While Mr Elmes was unable to answer questions on the specific wage conditions under consideration, he said there was an opportunity for people to "work together".

"We have a band of very dedicated people who are auxiliaries in Noosa as well as the urbans and the rurals," he said.

"They all have their place, they have their place at the Noosa Fire Station today, and they have been there for a long time."

Topics:  firefighters glen elmes industrial action queensland government strike

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