As has been reported in previous Newsletters, the Union received a new proposal from the Fire Service, which includes a proposal to settle the Days in Lieu Litigation as a part of the Collective Agreement negotiations.

As well, other details of the proposed settlement are significantly different than that put to members at the meetings held to consider industrial action.

As has been noted previously, settlement of the Days in Lieu Litigation is complex and various legal issues must be worked through and clarified.

The Union and the Fire Service have met on a number of occasions since the Fire Service made its initial changed proposal and improvements have been made.

In broad terms, the key details of where the negotiations are at are:

1. Term
24 months – 1 January 2007 – 31 December 2008

2. Wages & Allowances
4% from 1 January 2007
4% from 1 January 2008

3. Settlement of Days in Lieu Litigation

- For the period 1 April 2004 – 1 April 2007, a grant of Special Leave equal to 50% of the average number of Days in Lieu under dispute.

- From 1 April 2007, an alternative holiday will be provided for work performed on a Public Holiday where it would otherwise be a working day.

- For any Public Holiday falling during Annual Leave (i.e. the 14 days), the Annual Leave will be extended by the number of Public Holidays in the same manner as currently applies for sickness – i.e the additional day’s Leave is taken off on the first duty shift immediately following the Annual Leave period.

- The definition of a day for the purpose of Days in Lieu entitlement is on a midnight to 
midnight basis, provided no one receives more than one Day in Lieu for any one Public Holiday (i.e. Three shift rotates through a Public Holiday).

- The one-off grant of Special Leave (1/3/04 – 1/3/07) may be sold in part or in whole, 
or retained at the discretion of the individual. The cost will be at a weighted average call-back cost for the respective rank and driver rate (i.e. there will be a fixed rate for each rank/driver qualification).

- The one-off grant will only apply to those working on coloured Watches, currently 
employed by the Fire Service and who are members of the NZPFU at the time of ratification.

- Eligible employees who have not been employed continuously from 1 April 2004 will 
receive a pro-rata amount for each completed three months of service.

- Continuous employment excludes any period of permanent assignment to Black or 
Yellow Watch since 2004, and any period of LWOP. (Black and Yellow Watch workers do not normally work on Public Holidays).

- The Special Leave entitlement can be taken at any time, subject to prior consultation 
with the CFO and not on any Public Holiday.

- The Fire Service will not pursue costs awarded by the Court of Appeal.

- The Union will withdraw its appeal to the Supreme Court.

- The Union will assist the Fire Service to ensure that Minimum Shift Manning is 
maintained.

- From 1 April 2007, Days in Lieu can be taken at the discretion of the individual, but 
the taking of a Day in Lieu on a Public Holiday will be the exception and will require the prior approval of the CFO.

Annual Leave

The current entitlement of 14 days in every 160 days meets or exceeds the minimum required for 4 weeks Annual Leave.

4. Overtime Worked on a Public Holiday
The Fire Service notes its policy of providing a Day in Lieu when overtime is worked on a Public Holiday and confirms it has no intention of ceasing this policy.

5. Officer Allowance
An Officer Allowance of $1500 per annum to be paid fortnightly from 1 July 2007 to recognize enhanced duties related to SMS, introduction of TAPs and general supervisory responsibility.
This allowance to be increased by 4% from 1 January 2008. The allowance will not be subject to employer Superannuation contributions

6. National Resource Allocation Model
The Fire Service offers, and the Union agrees to participate in and support the introduction of a National Resource Allocation Model. The wording in the Collective Agreement to provide agreement on the development and implementation of a NRAM.

7. Implementation of TAPs
The Collective Agreement to be amended to provide for the implementation of TAPs on 1 July 2007.

8. Leave Without Pay
The Collective Agreement to be amended to remove the present requirement for a vacancy before return to work.

9. Residential Training Course
The distance for eligibility for a Residential Course will be amended so that the 75km distance will be for the shorter distance from the employee’s home or Station.

10. Superannuation
The Super Scheme Trust Deed will be amended to permit members to voluntarily lock in a minimum of 4% of employer/employee contributions to access the employee tax exemption on Super contributions.

11. Driver Allowance
A Working Party will examine the relevance of the current Driver grades and especially look at:

- Definition of Grade 1 Appliances
- Heavy Trailer Allowance
- Eligibility to receive the Grade 1 Allowance

.12. Mileage Reimbursement

The Fire Service agrees to pay mileage reimbursement, based on the yearly revised A.A. rates, from the first pay day following the date of ratification, specifically at the following rates:

Under 1300cc  50.2 cents per km 
1301 – 1600cc   55.4 cents per km 
1601 – 2000cc  72.9 cents per km 
Over 2000cc   89.2 cents per km 

On the basis of these broad principles, the Union Committee has in principle, resolved to recommend this negotiated proposed settlement.

However, there is considerable work to be done, particularly on the details of the Days in Lieu Settlement.

Essentially the Union Committee is persuaded that the risk of proceeding with the Days in Lieu Litigation is simply not worth the gamble.

If the case were to be won in the Supreme Court, the only additional benefit achieved would be the full backdating of entitlement April 04 – April 07.

If the case were lost, then the ongoing entitlement of Days in Lieu would be gone – as well as the 50% backdating.

Whether taken and thereby generating overtime – or sold – the ongoing Days in Lieu entitlement in itself is worth considerable money.

Obviously there will be considerable questions arising from this outline of the broad principles of the negotiated proposed settlement. Please direct these to the Union and when possible, they will be answered.

The Union has sought advice from its lawyers and on the basis of the broad principles outlined above, they have recommended to the Committee that the negotiated proposed settlement be recommended to members for ratification. Further details of that advice from the lawyers will be provided to members prior to ratification meetings.

The Committee want to ensure that the details of the principles outlined above are clear and agreed before ratification meetings are held, and given the complexity of some of the issues involved, and the significant changes to the Collective Agreement required, this will take some time.

Whenever updated information is available, this will be circulated to members and by the time the ratification meetings are held, all details will be available for members’ consideration.

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