The relationship between the N.Z.P.F.U. and the U.F.U. of Australia was further strengthened with a highly successful Combined Conference in Auckland in
the first week of December.
Approximately 80 Delegates from throughout New Zealand and Australia met over 3 days to share knowledge and information and to continue to build on the foundation of the Global Alliance.
The discussions were broad with a range of issues canvassed and once again, it became apparent the significant similarities of the challenges Firefighters and their Unions face. It was also an opportunity to share experiences of successes, including the power of the political capital of Firefighters.
The Conference was opened by Paul Baxter – Chief Executive/National Commander. NZPFU President Peter Nicolle and UFU of Australia President Greg Northcott jointly chaired the Conference and the conducive nature of the meeting resulted in significant and beneficial information sharing.
Issues discussed included:
- The development in P.P.C. and the necessity for the coordination of the whole ensemble;
- Health Programmes, Medical Monitoring and Best Practice;
- A detailed SWOT faced as Unions and for the membership;
- The success of recent political campaigns (in Australia) and the best use of the political capital of Firefighters;
- Firefighting and Climate Change;
- The N.Z. Carcinogen Exposure Programme;
- The development of presumptive legislation and the science that underpins it;
- Reporting from N.Z. and Australian Branches on the key industrial and political issues;
- The science and studies that support the necessity for at least 7 on the fireground;
- Update on the Global Alliance including specific reports conveyed from the I.A.F.F., and information from the U.K. F.B.U about their pension dispute.
A separate Joint Safety & Health meeting was held and then reported back to the Joint Conference.
The key points for that meeting included further detailed discussions on the coordination of P.P.E. ensemble and the challenges ahead in having the appropriate protections in place for Firefighters suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.
In addition, the Union held a specific meeting where the administration of the Union was dealt with, and the following Remits were adopted:
Resolution UCF 11/2014
Change the wording of the Contract (Clause 5.6.7 – Entitlements, Processes & Authorizations when attending Fire Service Training Courses) to read:
“When attending Fire Service Training Courses or External Training Courses directly related to NZFS business i.e. Health & Safety Training courses run externally”.
Resolution UCF 13/2014
That the Union try to persuade the NZFS to reinstate the ability for members to pro-rata a PHR if a member wishes to not take this leave directly after their annual leave.
Resolution UCF 14/2014
That the NZPFU and NZFS renegotiate the “Hours of Duty” policy to include the provision of a “clean slate” with regards to the hours worked after a 24 hour break from duty.
Resolution UCF 15/2014
That there be a comprehensive medical insurance package for employees and/or families of the NZFS personnel.
Office Closure/Christmas/New Year
The Wellington Office will be closed from 23rd December 2014 to 12th January 2015.
During that time if anything urgent does arise – Committee Members will be available except Jim Ryburn (22nd December – 5th January), Ian Wright (after 6 January), Michael Balmer (20th – 28th December).
The Union wishes all a Safe and Happy Festive Season and looks forward to working with and for you in the New Year.