As noted in previous newsletters, the Union had raised the issue of a qualification payment for the “Approved Filler” qualification.
The Union had also given a period of grace to the 14 October to allow negotiations to conclude.
Preliminary discussions, which appeared positive, had taken place last week with both the Directors of Operations & Training and Human Resources.
At our meeting of 30 September, Mike Hall completely rejected any suggestion of a qualification payment – essentially on his claimed grounds that nothing
changed and why should he pay for something that was being done for free.
Mike Hall’s argument is obviously flawed. The requirement to train and be assessed is itself a significant change. As well, the consequences of not being trained and qualified are now very significant.
The situation from 1 October is very clear. As well as the Fire Service being liable, any unqualified person who fills B.A. cylinders can be subject to
significant financial penalties
and also potentially a prison term.
The message from that is crystal clear – if you are not qualified, do not fill B.A. cylinders. The Union has also noted Mike Hall’s e-mail where he purports
to issue an instruction to
all existing B.A. Fillers to require them to undergo the training and assessment process.
The Union completely rejects this so-called instruction. Acting as a B.A. Filler prior to 1 October has always been voluntary. In fact, in Wellington for
example, the first advice of
the training and assessment programme explicitly stated that such training and assessment would be on a voluntary basis.
Nobody can be ordered to undertake an outside qualification, and an even more ludicrous suggestion is that somehow someone can be instructed to pass or
complete an assessment programme.
The Union’s position is again quite clear. Until there is a qualification payment for this external qualification obtained, nobody should obtain the qualification.
Members need to clearly understand that the only possibility of obtaining this qualification payment is before such qualification is widespread.
The Union is also attempting to clarify who is actually qualified at present and who is qualified to undertake the training, do the assessments and then issue a qualification as
an approved trainer.