Fire Service Harassment of Union Officials - Fire Service Case Struck Out

Further to NTM No. 13 ‐ 

The Fire Service has suffered its third defeat in its relentless pursuit of two members (Jeff McCulloch and Boyd Raines) following a dispute in 2008.

Two separate High Court judges have agreed with the Union that because the employer’s complaint arose from or was related to a strike, the proceedings should never have been issued in the High Court. Any complaint should have been raised in the Employment Court. This is important, because it allows the Union to argue in the Employment Court what was in fact the case – namely, that its actions were entirely appropriate and justified, and the strike action involved (a ban on acting up) was justified on health and safety grounds.

Now the Employment Court (Chief Judge Colgan) has agreed with the two High Court judges, and the employer’s proceedings are currently at an end in the High Court.

The matter can go no further unless and until new proceedings are issued by the employer in the Employment Court.

It remains to be seen whether the employer will continue to waste public money by appealing the latest judgment to the Court of Appeal.

One interesting feature of the Employment Court judgment was to direct the employer to attend mediation with the Union to address the real issue in the dispute if the Fire Service decides to refile in the Employment Court – that is, whether the strike action was genuinely based on health and safety.

Thousands of dollars of public money has been wasted by the Fire Service on completely misguided harassment, through improper legal means, of Local officials and of course the cost to the Union is also very significant.

Link to the Court case available.

Bargaining

Further to NTM No. 29, attached/below are the Agreed Parameters for Bargaining.

New Plymouth Members' Injuries

The New Plymouth Local reports that Both Sam and Graeme are progressing well at this stage, with Sam returning to normal duties just prior to Christmas.

The Local also expresses a concern that there appears a common perception that the actions leading up to the incident, in particular Command & Control, Entry Control and Pump Operation failures were carried out by the professional firefighters at New Plymouth, when this is not the case.

The NZPFU members present at the fire were under the command and control of a volunteer CFO within the Volunteer District.

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