A statement from Peter Marshall, Secretary of United Firefighters Union – Victorian Branch:
The UFU stands in solidarity with fellow unionists to condemn the violence seen on Melbourne’s streets in the past two days perpetrated by right-wing extremists and anti-vaccination activists.
We condemn the attacks on the CFMEU headquarters and its officials. We condemn the attacks on our emergency service colleagues, who are members of the Police Association. The violence must stop.
It is disgraceful to see opportunists hijack genuine frustration and concern among workers for their own entertainment. Their callous disregard for the health and safety of their fellow Victorians shows they are not trade unionists.
The UFU believes there is nothing more important than keeping our communities safe. Ignoring public health orders, stoking fear, and spreading violence across our city is against every value we hold.
Throughout this pandemic, professional firefighters have continued to respond to emergencies. It’s an insult to their work, and to the efforts of every frontline worker, to see these protesters so selfishly ignore the rules. We particularly recognise the ongoing work of the nurses and health professionals, and would echo their calls that protesters must stop the violence and engage in respectful dialogue.
In recognition of the risks faced by firefighters in responding to emergencies during the COVID 19 pandemic, and in particular recognition of the risks posed by duties in emergency medical response, the UFU strongly recommends that all members, subject to the advice of their medical practitioners, obtain COVID 19 vaccinations. The UFU does not support the mandating of vaccinations through the use of employment law.