State Labor MP Jane Garrett has been accused of trying to orchestrate a leadership coup against controversial firefighters' union boss Peter Marshall, in explosive claims that have reignited tensions over the bitter CFA dispute. In a statutory declaration seen by The Sunday Age, Ms Garrett, the former emergency services minister, has also been accused of trying to reward a union firefighter with a plum post for helping her get re-elected, and of likening Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley, a respected public servant, to "a prostitute who sells themselves to the highest bidder". The damning allegations are contained in a document signed by Metropolitan Fire Brigade senior station officer Michael Tisbury, a union firefighter and an ally of Mr Marshall, who helped blow the lid off the CFA's now-defunct Fiskville training facility. However, Ms Garrett has vehemently denied the claims, saying suggestions of an attempted coup against Mr Marshall were "ludicrous on every level", while allegations she wanted to use her position to promote Mr Tisbury were "utterly false and completely at odds with the well-documented dealings I had with the UFU during my term as minister". (She spent much of it at war with the union and consistently refused to adhere to their demands.) She also said that she held Mr Lapsley in the "highest regard" and any claim she used offensive language against him was "completely wrong and very disappointing". The allegations come as The Sunday Age also reveals today that hundreds of firefighters have approached Victoria's equal opportunity watchdog to speak out about bullying and discrimination in the fire services, setting the scene for a dramatic shake-up of the male-dominated profession. Despite a directive by the union not to take part in the investigation, a growing number of career and volunteer firefighters have participated – including more than 800 staff within the first 48 hours of the statewide review. Mr Tisbury's allegations have brought to the fore the vicious hostilities that continue over the industrial stoush. In his statutory declaration, he states that in or around October 2015, Ms Garrett had called him "and after some trivial small talk, she then moved on to the subject of Peter Marshall". "She suggested that Peter had been UFU secretary too long and that I should attempt a coup on Peter's leadership," he wrote. "She also explained to me that it would be a good stepping stone for me to enter politics in the future." Mr Tisbury also alleges that, two months after Labor was re-elected at the 2014 poll, Ms Garrett had suggested she could reward him with a promotion to assistant chief fire officer as a reward for his efforts exposing the Fiskville contamination scandal and helping her re-election. He said he told Ms Garrett he wanted to be promoted "on merit, not on favour" and pointed out that obtaining such a position would require the completion of a commanders course and a rigorous selection process. According to Mr Tisbury: "Ms Garrett said she was now the minister and could direct Craig Lapsley to do whatever she told him to. She likened Mr Lapsley to a prostitute who sells themselves to the highest bidder." The allegations are set to inflame divisions between Ms Garrett and Mr Marshall, which erupted in April last year when the then minister refused to intervene in the disciplining of an MFB officer charged with distributing porn, and continued to deepen the longer the EBA dispute dragged on. Mr Tisbury is understood to have prepared the statutory declaration as part of a complaint to Trades Hall. However, it is fiercely contested by the Brunswick MP: Twitter records, for instance, show the pair were not on good terms last October - the month Mr Tisbury says she suggested the leadership challenge. The stoush over the UFU's latest workplace deal has been a sore point for Premier Daniel Andrews for months. Along with Ms Garrett's decision to quit cabinet after refusing to agree to the union's demands, it has also resulted in the sacking of the entire CFA board and the departures of former CFA chief fire officer Joe Buffone and former chief executive Lucinda Nolan. On Friday, MFB chief fire officer Peter Rau also resigned, although it is understood he is gravely ill and his departure had more to do with a Fiskville-related illness than the industrial dispute. However, WorkSafe is reportedly investigating claims he was bullied by Mr Marshall. Ms Garrett also announced this month that she would lodge a bullying complaint against the union boss for the way she was treated during her tenure as emergency services minister.