We have had reports that in some areas managers are attempting to act up firefighters into Officer positions which they are not qualified or assessed as competent to hold, and are doing regardless of the availability of suitably qualified personnel.
The NZPFU has raised with FENZ a range of pressures being placed on firefighters due to management making decisions that are poor operational decisions or impact on health and safety solely based on budgetary considerations. We have seen an increase in circumstances where management fail to manage necessary staffing levels or fatigue appropriately and we believe this is because budget pressures are being put before good management practices. FENZ have assured us today that safety and sound operational management is the priority and there are avenues for managers to discuss budgetary issues within FENZ structures without impacting on the safety and welfare of firefighters, or breaching employment terms and conditions of employment.
It is the NZPFU’s view that there are issues with the current minimum staffing and establishment numbers, and in particular the ratio of firefighters needed to cover the minimum staffing levels (including cover for contractual and statutory leave entitlements) is inadequate and needs to be addressed.
These pressures are being driven down to firefighter level and we have been informed that managers are attempting to act-up firefighters into Officer positions when the firefighter does not hold the required qualification, or does not hold current competency to do so, and where there are other officer-qualified firefighters to fill that position either long term or short term.
No one is to act up into an Officer position (Station Officer or Senior Station Officer) without the required qualification and assessed as competently qualified where there are others that hold the rank or are qualified to do so. If there is a complete absence of anyone qualified and available then contact your union representative. These issues must not be determined by the firefighter and management alone. This is for the safety of the crew and the person acting up into the Officer role.