A correspondent with Fire & Rescue NSW asks:

Legally what strike action are we able to do/not do? For example if a NSW government building was on fire and we only saved lives and protected non government buildings, but let the NSW government burn to ground, how would that sit with the law?

I’m not an industrial lawyer so I won’t try to understand all the ins and outs of industrial law, when industrial action is protected etc.  What I can say is that the Fair Work Commission can prohibit industrial action that would, or might, cause significant economic harm (Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) s 423) would ‘endanger the life, the personal safety or health, or the welfare, of the population or of part of it’ or ‘cause significant damage to the Australian economy or an important part of it’ (s 424) or will have an ‘the employer, or any of the employers, that will be covered by the agreement (s 426).  Deliberately allowing NSW government buildings to burn would or could run foul of all those provisions. 


Regardless of any general industrial law principles (that I cannot comment on) I think we could say, with some confidence, that a deliberate policy of allowing ‘the NSW government burn to ground’ would not be lawful nor tolerated.