Victoria's firefighters are splashed across the front pages of newspapers across the country, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull getting involved over the weekend. The deal has been dragging on for years, with career firefighters and volunteers pitted against each other in a bid for control over operations. It's pitted Minister against Premier and Premier against Prime Minister -- so what is actually going on?
What is the United Firefighters Union asking for?
The United Firefighters Union has been locked in negotiations with the Victorian government for more than three years over a pay deal that would affect wages of career firefighters, working conditions and safety measures. The list of demands is long, and as well as a significant payrise, the UFU is also demanding clauses that would affect the power balance between the union and the Country Fire Authority, and between career and volunteer firefighters. The UFU points to issues like the Fiskville training cancer cluster, Hazelwood mine fire and the fire in the Grampians as evidence that it needs more control to protect the safety of workers. The Fair Work Commission has approved the EBA, but this is a non-binding recommendation.