Comms Centre “communicators” seek to be called “dispatchers”

On behalf of our Comms Centre members the NZPFU has sought to have their classification changed from “communicators” to “Fire and Emergency Dispatcher”.

Today the NZPFU wrote to FENZ requesting the Collective Agreement for Uniformed and Communications Centre Employees be varied to reflect the requested change.

The request for change has come from Communications Centre staff/NZPFU members who have canvassed the Communicators and believe that the majority would prefer to be referred to as a “Fire and Emergency Dispatcher”. The reasons for the change include:

  • The term communicator does not adequately explain the work and is not commensurate with the status of their training and skills
  • They regularly need to explain what a communicator does when asked about their role as the term “communicator” is very broad and not only used in a call taker/dispatcher role.
  • The term “communicator” does not appropriately reflect the role of communications centre staff
  • All comms centre staff are trained in both call taking and dispatching and becoming qualified as a dispatched symbolises the successful completion of their initial training
  • The new progression framework clearly shows the call taking component and the requirement to become a qualified call taker before a dispatcher. Therefore the all-encompassing “communicator” does not reflect that progression or training or qualification.
  • Recently approved FENZ recruitment material will include the term “Fire and Emergency Dispatcher”
  • Other jurisdictions in NZ and overseas use the term dispatcher whereas communicator is not widely used.
  • The majority of staff have signalled a preference for their position to be called Fire and Emergency Dispatcher.

The Collective Agreement can be varied by agreement. The intention is to enter into negotiations with FENZ to determine the most appropriate amendments to effect the change. Once the detail of the variation is agreed a secret ballot of Communications Centre members would be held to ratify the proposed variation.

In unity,
Wattie Watson
Secretary

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