We refer Members to the 12th February 2024 notice where we notified members it was not in their interests to respond to the new Code of Conduct.

Our lawyers have been working on the matter and we expect to have a matter filed shortly.  It is the NZPFU’s position that FENZ cannot unilaterally impose a new code of conduct on members as it is used to impose sanctions up to dismissal and therefore is a term and condition of your employment. FENZ did not even consult on the new code and have bypassed the union by sending it far and wide throughout the organisation.

This week FENZ have doubled down in their attempts to bypass the union by directly inviting members to briefings on a new complaints management system that the Union has not even seen.

Members will remember that the NZPFU advised members not to participate in the BCO when it was stood up as the processes failed to meet procedural fairness and natural justice standards. Despite at least two iterations of the BCO, and a high changeover of staff including leadership, it has proven on many levels to be a failure.  FENZ has now devised a new system that again the NZPFU has not seen.  Again FENZ has no interest in the Union’s views despite the NZPFU representing more than 75% of all FENZ employees and being called to represent members regularly in these processes.

We were invited this week to a meeting where the new system would be explained.  Prior to the NZPFU being invited to a meeting to be told the system (that has been devised without any input from the Union) we know that FENZ had already sent out invites to members inviting them to various briefings around the country.

When challenged about the complete lack of interest in seeking the NZPFU’s views on a complaints system, the Workplace Relations National Manager Michael Stevenson replied that he was “very confident the new system will serve Fire and Emergency people well”.  It is our experience that when an employer imposes a unilateral change that it only serves the employer’s interests very well.

  • The NZPFU advises members it is not in their interests to attend these briefings until the NZPFU has been briefed on the new Complaints Management System and can assess whether or not it meets the required standards including privacy, procedural fairness and natural justice.
  • We understand that in addition to management positions, some roles such as VSOs have been sent invitations. It is not the role of the VSO to assist with any complaint or facilitate any complaints through to the system.  

The climate and context that we will be entering collective employment agreement negotiations this year are becoming apparent when the head of Workplace Relations sees no value in engaging with the NZPFU on matters critical to the security of their employment.  The bold attempts to bypass the union and unilaterally impose changes to employment terms and conditions can only lead us to litigation and disputes.  While members of the executive leadership team state they wish to repair the relationship and earn back the trust of the NZPFU members, these behaviours by others in the organisation only serve to undermine any progress made.  Ironically again, management do not apply FENZ’s own poster of values to their own conduct and behaviour. 

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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