The Public Sector Commissioner is being urged by the Opposition to investigate the rights of the Union in having massive influence over the appointment of senior positions within the fire department.
Tension has emerged after the recent resignation of the first female superintendent, Amanda Williamson, and has triggered the need for more women as firefighters and in managerial positions.
Industrial agreements between the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and the United Firefighters Union state that senior positions within the department are only open to employees who have firefighting or equivalent experience.
Questions are arising over the integrity of the public sector.
Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Peter Katsambanis, explained that you don’t need firefighting experience to be in a managerial position.
“I have never been able to understand why an accountant needs firefighting experience, why a human resources manager needs firefighting experience…”
“I think that’s just a furphy for the unions to maintain control… to keep the jobs for the boys,” said Mr Katsambanis.
Opposition believes the government is only acting in the interests of the unions.
“I think Western Australians except a Government that’s gong to give everyone a fair go… Not just union members,” he said.
With only 5% of firefighters being women, Emergency Services Minister, Fran Logan, is encouraging women to become firefighters and move up the career chain.
“The issue of above the award and the EBA in the managerial levels of DFES, I would encourage diversity and I would encourage women to go up the career path and take those positions in the DFES,” said Mr Logan,
The Public Sector Commission will also be investigating bullying, intimidation and union influence within Government departments.