Firies set for industrial action

FIREFIGHTERS across Queensland, including Ipswich and surrounding areas, are preparing for industrial action today pending the outcome of an Industrial Relations Commission hearing.

A dispute between the United Firefighters Union and the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service arose from the sacking of a Brisbane firefighter last Wednesday.

The UFU imposed statewide work bans on Thursday after the fireman was dismissed by QFRS commissioner Lee Johnson on medical grounds.

The work bans meant crews only responded to fire calls and did not do other jobs such as building inspections and routine paperwork.

The matter went before the Industrial Relations Commission after which firefighters returned to full duty, and the hearing is due to continue today.

The UFU said the fireman suffered an epileptic seizure 18 months ago but had been cleared by neurologists to return to frontline duty.

UFU Ipswich secretary Mark Stephenson said the man, who was on duty in Brisbane during the floods, was told he presented "an unacceptable risk to the fire service".

Mr Stephenson said that if the firefighter wasn't reinstated, firemen across the state were prepared to resume industrial action.

"Every fireman is disgusted and it means every fireman can be called in and sacked at any time for having any medical condition," Mr Stephenson said.

"The condition this firefighter had is treatable and you can be hired by the fire service with that condition.

"The message we want to get across to the public if the industrial action goes ahead is that firefighters will remain protecting the community even if we don't get paid.

"No-one will be put at risk."

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