Members will be aware of the recently distributed whole country e-mail regarding hours of work.
It would appear that in most localities throughout the country a reasonable, sensible and flexible approach has been taken to manage hours worked which is the intent of the policy in any event.
However in Auckland the Regional Manager, Paul McGill, has directed action, which has resulted in the cancellation of all non-operational activities by operational members other than the operational staffing of appliances.
Such cancellations have effected:
SMS, Line and PCA Training. Recruit assessment. Volunteer and Industrial training. Accident Investigations, BA Maintenance, BA Hydro Testing, Phase Course Instruction and placed restrictions on pump and driver courses.
In addition there is the serious intention of disestablishing appliance manning on a day to day basis to supposedly accommodate the hours of work policy.
Mr. McGill insists that the basis for such action is motivated purely and simply by health and safety concerns related to hours of work. However when the Auckland Local pointed to examples of local volunteers exceeding the policy recommendations the Regional Manager declined to take any similar action against them.
The Auckland Local has also advised the Regional Commander that only 9 Watch Officer (excluding Relievers) vacancies out of 103 positions exist throughout the Auckland Brigade and no crises exists that requires the cancellation of non operational work or course participation. Despite this Mr. McGill has declined to rescind his rigid instruction to Auckland Chiefs.
Ironically it is those Auckland Chiefs who have are compelled to work an on call roster that often exceeds even the flexible recommendations in the hours of work policy but Mr. McGill is not concerned with this fact either.
Despite members being ready and available to undertake non-operational work in Auckland the Auckland administration are seeking only members from other Regions to undertake these duties.
Given the factual reality of the situation, no staffing crisis exists in Auckland that compromises the Hours of Work policy.
No staffing crisis exists in Auckland that requires the disestablishment of crewing for any appliance for any length of time.
In addition the Auckland Local has offered to set up a working party on agreed terms of reference to resolve outstanding issues related to the hours of work policy.
Clearly then Mr. McGill’s instructions are motivated by budgetary restraints.
Although he denies this, it is self-evident.
Therefore members in other Regions are strongly advised to decline any invitation to participate in any non-operational activities in the Auckland Local area and if asked should consult their Local Secretary.
Auckland Local members are available to undertake this work.
In addition members are strongly advised to terminate any activity where Auckland Local members would otherwise have participated but have been excluded due to Mr. McGill’s financial dilemma and his stated intention to reduce MSM in Auckland by decommissioning trucks.
To this end Members are advised of the initiatives taken by other members from other Regions recently whilst attending a Fire Risk Management conference in Rotorua.
Upon being advised that two Auckland members (Marke Neville and Graeme Quensell) had been denied participation at the conference, for the dubious reasons outlined above, 8 members (Graeme Gilroy Invercargill, Steve Shackleton Nelson, Phil Hynd Wellington, John Hotter Wanganui, Ian Wright Wellington, Bruce Irvine Christchurch, Roy Hoogenrand Timaru, and Stu Craddock Taupo,) ceased any further involvement with the conference.
All members will appreciate the solidarity shown by this group to those affected members.
Members should refer to Auckland Local Notice of 31 October for further information. National Committee will be formalizing a national recommendation on Monday pending any development on the agreed terms of reference and the makeup of the Hours of Work Working Party, which the Fire Service is planning to implement in the near future.