Collective Agreement Negotiations

Further to previous Notices, the Union and the Fire Service will meet again on Wednesday 27th May. The full Union Committee will be present.

Members will be further updated subsequent to that meeting.

Physical Competency Payment 

The payments as outlined in Union NTM No.11 will be made on Pay Day 17th June.

Fire Service Legal Action - Auckland Local 

Many members will be generally aware of the legal action commenced by the employer in the High Court against the Auckland Local President, Jeff McCulloch, the Auckland Local Secretary, Boyd Raines and (initially) John Geboers, Auckland Local Vice President and the Auckland Local Committee.

The Fire Service pleadings are various tort actions which allege conspiracy and intimidation of two named Union members.

The Union’s position is that there was no unlawful conspiracy or unlawful intimidation at all.

These types of tort actions were frequently used by employers in the 19th century to attack Unions and their officials. Today such actions against Unions are very rare.

The case centres on decisions made by the Auckland Local to ban acting up to two Deputy Chief Fire Officer positions over 08/09 Christmas/New Year.

The Auckland Local had good reason to ban the acting up, based on health and safety grounds.

Two members ignored the Union’s position and accepted the acting up appointments. Consequently those members were advised of the expectation that they abide by the policies and positions of the Union and the possible consequences of not abiding by them. There was no unlawful intimidation or unlawful conspiracy relating to the two members at any time. In fact, they were treated appropriately and fairly at all times.

A Statement of Defence was filed by the Union’s solicitors on 9 April 2009.

As a consequence of a subsequent Judicial Conference Call, the Union was substituted as a party instead of the Auckland Local Committee. As a consequence John Geboers is no longer named as a party to the proceeding.

A further Judicial Conference Call has been organized for June to determine further progress of the litigation.

The Union regards this attack by the Fire Service on the officials concerned as an attack on the Union as a whole and on all elected officials. Clearly if the Union cannot advance legitimate and justified positions then the Union (and all others) becomes much less relevant.

As well, individual elected Union officials are named as First and Second Defendants. This in itself is seen by the Union as a blatant attempt to undermine those officials and all officials.

The Union is defending the action and will continue to vigorously reject the Fire Service claims. The Union believes they are without foundation.

Members will be kept aware of developments as they occur.

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