Aviation firefighters have supported a vote of 'no confidence' in the leadership of their employer, Airservices Australia and have overwhelmingly voted to support taking work stoppages which will impact flights into and across Australia.
In total, 96 per cent of members of the United Firefighters Union - Aviation Branch supported the vote of 'no confidence' in Airservices leadership while 93 per cent of members voted to support work stoppages.
Wes Garrett, United Firefighters Union - Aviation Branch Secretary, said aviation firefighters continue to be deeply concerned that firefighter shortages were undermining their capacity to protect Australia's air travellers.
"At every major and regional airport across Australia, we do not have enough aviation firefighters to provide the protection for air travellers that's required by international aviation regulation," he said.
"This presents a significant risk to the safety and welfare of both the travelling community and firefighters and our members urgently want Airservices to address this problem.
"But despite our ongoing campaign and vocal calls for action on this issue, Airservices continues to deny that a problem exists, and refuses to take any meaningful action, putting the lives of air travellers at risk.
"That's why, for the very first time, aviation firefighters have taken the considerable step of voting to take work stoppages at airports across Australia.
"Work stoppages may last between two or 12 hours and would impact the ability of aircraft to operate in and out of Australia's airports."
Mr Garrett said the union was due to meet next week to determine when work stoppages would take place, for how long and in which locations.
"In accordance with the requirements of the Fair Work Commission, Airservices and the travelling public will be provided with seven days' notice of any work stoppage before it takes place," he said.
"Aviation firefighters take their duty to protect the lives of Australia's air travellers extremely seriously. But they cannot protect the safety of the public properly when they simply don't have enough firefighters on the ground to do the job.
"It's time for Airservices to stop the lies and obfuscation and fix the firefighter shortage as a matter of urgency."