The Auckland Local met on Friday with FRM Butt and AFRM Binning to attempt to resolve the dispute over the unilateral alteration of workload and the comparisons of work of officers and stations being carried out in some Districts.

Regional Management were, to say the least, intransigent in their attitude to the Union’s position and stated that they did not consider the 405 or 408 to be new work and did not acknowledge that they had altered the workload of members without consultation.

They have been very clever in the way they have gone about this subterfuge, as they have not altered the targets in SMS. Indeed, there are no targets that the Local can find that relate to 405 or 408s, therefore, they are claiming that there has been no increase in workload.

When pressed about the intimidation of officers and members, they requested that the Local provide them with names of members who have complained of this intimidation. We naturally refused, as this would have subjected those individuals to further covert intimidation and may have damaged their career prospects. The Local would ask members, who have been subjected to this type of comparison of outputs, or intimidation, to advise us as soon as possible.

We asked how the Region Management expected the 405 surveys to be done. FRM Butt stated that he expects the members to do a walk through. He does not consider it appropriate or sufficient to do a “front seat assessment”. The Local has been advised that certain CFO’s are instructing their staff to do this type of survey, presumably to inflate their figures so that they look good for the upcoming restructure planned for February 2009.

After much fruitless discussion, the Local has agreed to members continuing to do the 405 surveys. However, we would remind officer members, that the Total Station workload is as agreed in the Annual Station Business Plan at the start of the financial year, and any additional work allocated to the station by the CFO would require that some of the already agreed workload be removed from the work schedule, as both parties agreed that the Business Plan accurately reflected the work sufficient to meet the needs of the NZFS.

We would also recommend to officers that they request a work priority list from their CFO as the Local would consider that, for example, the training of a recruit firefighter would take precedence over the 405 programme. Unfortunately, some CFO’s are not of the same mind, so it is essential for their own protection, that officers are aware of their CFO’s requirements in this regard.

Unfortunately, the Local also had to concede that the 408 training proceed, as the Fire Service had ordered members to attend this training and threatened disciplinary action against individuals if they refused, and we are extremely reluctant to subject individuals to this bullying and intimidation, particularly just prior to the Christmas period, which is generally the time most intimidation of workers occurs.

We refer members to the statements above relating to 405’s, as the 408’s are in exactly the same category regarding workload.

We were extremely disturbed by the negative attitude of Management to the suggestion that when a building is identified as a risk by the officers that they have just trained in risk assessment, and those officers ask for additional resources to be attached to the PDA, those requests are declined on the grounds that "we can’t have officers asking for aerials to be put on first alarms, we will wear them out". When it was pointed out to them that they should ask for more, their answer was “we can’t do that”.

The question must be asked, “if trained officers' requests can be ignored, why do we do the surveys in the first place?” The answer would seem to be “to get the figures that senior managers require to keep their jobs”.

The overall impression gained by the Local Representatives at the meeting, (President, Vice President and Officers’ Rep), was that Management seem to have been given the directive to make things as difficult as possible for the Union. Members should remember that CEA negotiations can commence 40 days before the expiry of the Agreement, which is about 22 November 2008.

Members should be aware that the Auckland Local believes that this issue has National implications, and to that end has asked the Northern Branch Secretary to take the matter to the Union Committee Meeting being held in Wellington on Tuesday 18 November.

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