A very successful 16th Annual Conference was held in Christchurch 23 – 25 November.

The Conference was focused on two topics:

1. Review of Fire Service Act
The government is in the process of reviewing the Fire Service Act. The review focuses on three general areas:

a) Funding
b) Rural/Urban interface
c) Formalization of the extended role of the Fire Service into rescue

A number of speakers were invited to address Conference particularly on this issue:

- Hon. Mark Burton (Minister responsible for the Fire Service)
- Department of Internal Affairs officials who are coordinating the review and who spoke on the discussion document they have prepared (available on the Union’s website).
- Chiefs' Society and the U.F.B.A. who spoke on their organizations’ perspective.

Obviously significant change to the Fire Service Act has the possibility of impacting on members’ employment and the way in which services are delivered.

Preparing submissions and lobbying on proposed changes will be a top priority for the Union in the forthcoming year.

2. TAPs
The Fire Service, FRSITO and Union representatives on the TAPs Working Party gave Conference delegates a lengthy briefing on the TAPs proposal.

Any implementation of TAPs will require a variation to the Collective Agreement and this will require ratification by members.

The organization of meetings in Locals for this purpose has commenced and meetings are planned for early in the New Year.

In discussion on the implementation of S.M.S. the following Resolutions were adopted:

Resolution UCF 14/2004
That the Union’s representative on the Core Skills Maintenance Project Team is not to agree to time frames in relation to Drills etc., and that he report back to the National Committee for approval if there are any core skills that may require time frames.

Resolution UCF 15/2005
That the Roster System contained within SMS is not used by members until the National Committee is satisfied as to its purpose.

Time Off in Lieu of Overtime (TOIL)

Local delegates raised the use of TOIL by some members instead of receiving overtime payments.

The Collective Agreement only allows this arrangement for individual Black Watch workers after negotiation with the Union and subject to conditions.

For all other members, the Collective Agreement does not allow for TOIL and any such arrangement is a breach of the Collective Agreement.

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