The National Committee are extremely proud and excited to announce Joanne (Wattie) Watson as our new Secretary.
Wattie starts with us on the 10th December 2018 and is equally proud and excited to be joining us and sees this role as incredibly important and a great opportunity to continue her advocacy for firefighters and the industry.
We will be working collectively with Wattie to familiarise her with the role, and particularly working with Local Secretary’s to introduce her to all of you, our members, in the coming months so that she can listen and learn from all of you about what’s important in your part of our world.
Wattie comes with a broad union/legal background and a passion for improving the working lives of firefighters.
Wattie has wealth of experience in bargaining, negotiations, disputes and grievances and campaigning.
For the past 7 years Wattie has been the National Industrial Officer for the United Firefighters Union of Australia based in Melbourne. The UFUA represents Australia's professional career firefighters federally and across 8 states and territories.
In that role she has been directly involved in successful strategies to advance the interests of professional career firefighters both at a national and state level.
The health and wellbeing of firefighters is paramount, she considers the enactment of presumptive legislation recognising firefighters' occupational cancer a highlight of her time with the UFUA. More recently the focus has extended to mental health assistance and wellness programmes.
Australian unions have been under a concerted attack over recent years but the UFUA has not only survived but thrived building on world-class terms and conditions of employment and safe systems of work for professional career firefighters.
Prior to taking up the role with the UFUA, Wattie was considered an industrial/employment law specialist in New Zealand and was regularly called upon to speak at law conferences on the legal rights of workers and unions. She was a Principal of two law firms over a 10-year period.
Wattie's union ties stretch back to the 1980s when she was an active member and delegate of the then Journalists and Graphic Processes Union JAGPRO, and later she was a legal officer for the PSA. During her time with the PSA Wattie was part of a trade union consultation committee working on what became the Employment Relations Act 2000, and was a Cabinet appointee on the working party which developed the Holidays Act 2003.