COVID-19 Update #12

Staffing levels across the country are sufficient to maintain current response protocols.  The planning for Response Allocation Models for the spectra of possible scenarios with this pandemic are well underway but currently there is no need and no agreement to implement any changes that impact on contractual rights, minimum staffing, or changes to leave groups etc.

The NZPFU have representatives on each of the 5 Covid-19 Regional Working Parties and any issues arising from Covid-19 restrictions must go through those groups to ensure there is a national overview. It is through that structure that staffing levels to maintain response are also monitored.  Currently staffing levels are ranging from 81% to 91% and therefore manageable without enacting any changes that would breach the FENZ NZPFU collective agreement or minimum staffing levels.

Those working parties are also to be directly involved in the development of the response allocation for that region, and then brought down to Local level to ensure all practicalities and impacts have been considered.  There are four tiers to that model and currently we are at the lowest level Tier Alpha.  

Even when the plans are finalised, any response changes that impact on safe systems of work and terms and conditions of employment cannot be implemented unless agreed by the National union.  This will require specific circumstances such as a significant impact on available staff to trigger a process where the National Commander and the National Union will discuss the options with a view to reaching an agreement.  This process ensures the protection of all terms and conditions of employment including safe systems of work unless changes are absolutely necessary.  Should this eventuate we will notify all members of the agreement and the areas/stations the agreement impacts.

We are dealing with a few cases where management are attempting to breach the collective agreement claiming changes are necessary to maintain staffing levels.  Locals and members must be vigilant, and through your Local notify the National Union of any attempts to undermine the collective agreement and your rights.

In unity,
National Secretary Wattie Watson

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