Colmar Brunton Survey

Members were advised in Newsletter No. 8 that, on an interim basis, members were recommended not to participate in any way with this survey.

The Union Committee has considered this matter further and has adopted the following position:

The Union Committee recommends to members not to participate in any way with this survey.

This means both in the development of questions and completing the survey.

There are a number of factors that led to this recommendation.

  1. The disastrous example of focus groups/facilitation is not that long ago.
    Who was it that proposed in a focus group, that a 56 hour week was a good idea; or 3 person crews or communities losing appliances?

    It is frequently surprising, to say the least, what comes out of these so-called 
    consultation exercises. But, because you have been “consulted” then you are responsible for the outcome. Of course, the commitment to confidentiality makes this possibly even more likely.

    Who could know whether the outcomes are genuine or accurate – just trust us.

  2. The $50,000 cost of the survey, which apparently is to be repeated every year, (no doubt establishing an upward trend in morale, attitude etc,). Given that you will do most of the work involved in the survey – proposing the questions and filling in the questionnaire for free – the survey’s costs of 1/10th of the amount the Cost Containment Working Party is supposed to find, is totally unacceptable.

  3. To the Union’s surprise, it was discovered that before the Union was informed of the intention to undertake the survey, a Steering Group had been formed to oversee the survey process. The Union is not represented on this Steering Group, but the Committee noted with interest that Graeme Booth, C.F.O., Laingholm Volunteer Brigade and an ex President of the UFBA is a member of the Steering Group.

  4. The Union was not informed of, let alone consulted over, the intention to handpick Auckland members who were to “assist” Colmar Brunton to develop questions.

  5. The purpose of the Partnership Protocol it is agreed, that the Union – at Local, Branch and National level – is the proper conduit for communications of opinion and information between members and management. The survey can be seen as an attempt to bypass the Union at all levels, and to marginalize the Union and its elected officials.

Taking all these matters into account led the Committee to make its recommendation to members. Certainly the Committee does not want to be confronted, at some time in the future, with Fire Service management attempting to tell your officials what members think, and that this is different from what your officials were telling management as a result of this survey.

Protective Clothing

Most members will be aware that the Fire Service intends to begin the roll out of the new “Queensland” dark blue cotton shirt very soon, commencing in Invercargill.

Members must be aware that these shirts are Not a replacement for the Level 1 shirt but are to replace the light blue shirt. They are for Station wear.

They are NOT PROTECTIVE CLOTHING and as such cannot be used at incidents in place of the present Level 1 shirt or coveralls.

It is essential that officers ensure their staff are in no doubt that it will be dangerous for them to wear these shirts, if they are not covered by approved Protective Clothing, at any incident where there is fire or a possibility of fire. The level of protection afforded by these shirts is very similar to that of a standard Fire Service T shirt and as such requires the appropriate action to be taken to minimize the risk.

The Health & Safety in Employment Act is quite specific about who is responsible in any case where an employee is injured while carrying out a task, which has been identified as a hazard.

Not only may the employer be prosecuted, but also the negligent employee and his/her supervisor, can be open to similar prosecution.

Remember – these shirts are not Protective Clothing. Do not wear them as such.

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