Firefighters on strike until 6pm unless deal is made

Firefighters are on strike until 6pm unless a deal is done to fix their Work Cover complaints.

A meeting of nearly 200 firefighters at the Newcastle foreshore heard union officials say that negotiations were under way between the government and Christian Democrat Fred Nile.

VIDEO: Reporter Ian Kirkwood and photographer Simone De Peak spoke to Luke Russell, from the Fire Brigade Employees Union, and firefighter Jason Morgan during the strike.

Fire crews scramble to get to truck fire at Karuah

Mr Nile wanted firefighters and ambulance officers included in a list of exempted job descriptions that would be excluded from cuts to Work Cover journey coverage.

The meeting heard that Greens Upper House MP David Shoebridge was proposing an amendment to the Work Cover changes on their behalf but the outcome of the political debate remains to be seen.

The meeting heard that police, other rescue workers and coal miners had been exempted from the changes.

Fire brigade employees union branch secretary, Luke Russell, said other changes including cuts to the death and disability scheme were also likely to badly affect firefighters.

As well as 200 firefighters, there are about a dozen fire engines currently at the foreshore and The Herald understands all Hunter and Sydney fire stations are closed.

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