Wage increases and long running IFE dispute settled

and

Part 4 variation proposal to address wage disparity

All NZPFU members covered by the Uniformed and Communications Centre Employees Collective Agreement will receive a 2% pay increase backdated to 1 July 2019 as a result of the annual review of market wage rates. All allowances will also be increased by 2%.

FENZ has confirmed the first pay with the 2% increase applied will be 9th October and the backpay (1 July-9 October) will be paid on 23 October 2019.

The FENZ NZPFU 2018-2021 collective agreement provides for an annual review of market data to discuss and agree on remuneration rates to apply from 1 July each year. This provision was to move away from traditional bargaining to instead pitch wage increases in line with the market during the term of this agreement. The 2018 Terms of Settlement recognised the higher movement for 2018 would reduce the margin between the CEA and the market this year, however both FENZ and the NZPFU were expecting higher increases and were disappointed the market data demonstrated a 0.73% for SO and 0.32% for SFF ranks. As a result of ongoing discussions settled on 2% across the board.

There is an opportunity for further wage movement with job sizing. In particular the impact of medical response needs to be recognised and NZPFU is providing FENZ with evidence to support appropriate allowance or remuneration combined with enhance wellness programmes and assistance.

In addition, we are pleased to announce we have reached a settlement on the IFE dispute ensuring our members with SO Taps are able to access the Qualification Allowance. 

Currently, the CEA has a qualifications allowance for passing Graduate IFE and Member IFE. The IFE NZ branch managed to get the GIFE qualification to be accepted by RPL in consideration of completing the Career Station Officer TAPS. However, the NZFS and now FENZ refused to accept the RPL process as applicable for the Qualification Allowance in 2015.

The result was that our members with SO TAPS but without the IFE examination qualification were not able to access the Qualification Allowance.

The NZPFU claim was to interpret the IFE allowance to include recognition of the Career Station Officer TAPS programme. The NZPFU raised the dispute during the Rem Review discussions and the dispute has been settled interpreting the eligibility criteria for the Qualification Allowance to include the Career Station Officer TAPS programme. The settlement is as follows:

  • From 1 July 2019 FENZ will recognise the RPL for NZPFU members who achieve RPL through the IFE approval/recognition of TAPS;
  • FENZ will apply the extension of the criteria going forward from 1 July 2019 to all those already held by FENZ as having been received in the period since RPL was applied by IFE and any received in future.
  • For the period from 1 July 2015 (approximate time FENZ ceased processing the IFE payment to SO TAPS), FENZ will backdate at the appropriate rate according to the CEA over the period. This applies to all those already held by FENZ as received from 1 July 2015. The relevant date for the backdating will be the date on the face of the IFE certificate FENZ has received.
  • All new RPL received between now and December 1st 2019 will be backdated to 1 July 2019 recognising that they may take time to go through the process with IFE and also recognising that there may be some who have not applied in the interim while we were in dispute. This means people will have to engage with IFE to have the recognition granted and qualification awarded and provide that to FENZ for payment to commence.
  • The above changed interpretation and application of the CEA will be in full and final settlement of the IFE dispute.
  • For those members who have passed the SSO TAPS program and the previous SSO exam process and the Executive Officer program, these qualifications can be assessed under the RPL process for the Members IFE qualification. IFE NZ has secured our SSO TAPS system to be equivalent to MIFE. Members will need to contact the NZ branch of the IFE to work through this process.

Pay disparity for Part 4 members to be addressed

The NZPFU has raised with FENZ the disparity in the remuneration rates for FRMOs, Trainers, VSOs, Senior FRMOs and Senior Trainers (NTC) when compared with the PSA agreement. The disparity has arisen as the NZPFU agreement includes allowances for Part 4 members that are not applicable to the PSA agreement, and the PSA agreement has applied a higher market rate by 5%.

  • FENZ has agreed to match the market rates across the CEA as part of the increase to the PART 4 remuneration rates (provided for in Clause 4.2.1 of the CEA) provided clauses 4.2.4 Qualification Bonus, 4.2.5 BA filler, 4.2.5 TELARC Qualification and 4.2.7 Tradesperson’s Work allowances are removed and not applicable from 1 July 2019.
  • This means the market rate for the relevant positions will be increased by 5% before the application of the additional 2% pay increase.
  • FENZ has provided details on which allowances are being claimed and applied to Part 4 members. Few of our Part 4 members are currently qualifying for those allowances, and all members will receive an increase in their take-home pay if this proposal is accepted and implemented. The vast majority of applicable members will receive at least a 5% increase in their take-home pay even with the removal of the allowances currently being paid.
  • The removal of these allowances would only apply to Part 4 of the agreement and would not affect allowances in Part 2 or Part 3 of the Collective Agreement. If members change roles and move from Part 4 to Part 2 of the agreement, the allowances in Part 2 will still apply.

Because this proposal would require a variation of the agreement, and that these changes only affect members employed in positions covered by Part 4, the Part 4 members will be sent information on the variation and ratification process in the very near future. We will be providing these members with detail of the implications of the proposal.

If the proposed variation is ratified the 5% increase to the market rate would be applied from 1 July 2019, and then the additional 2% rem review wage increase would be applied to the new rate. The backpay will take into account any of the applicable allowances paid between 1 July 2019 and the ratification of the variation. For those that were employed in the relevant classifications as of 1 July 2019 but are no longer employed in those classifications, they will receive any relevant backpay for the period 1 July 2019 to the date they ceased being employed in accordance with Part 4.

Should you have any queries regarding the above, please contact your Branch officials, or the National President Ian Wright, Vice President Joe Stanley or National Secretary Wattie Watson.

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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