Most members will have read the NTM of November 2007, in which the promise of the National Commander to supply a Type 6 Aerial appliance to Auckland is mentioned. Since the issue of this NTM the Auckland Local has written to Regional Manager Butt and requested a meeting to discuss, amongst other things, the progress being made on obtaining the promised Type 6. To date we have received no response.
Towards the end of last year, the Auckland Regional Manager, through the Acting Deputy Chief Officer of the Auckland City Central Fire District, conducted a pressure campaign on four of our members based at Parnell Station to participate in a Type 5 Train the Trainers Course. The Union was totally opposed to this course proceeding as long as the Auckland Regional Manager refuses to discuss the replacement aerial appliance for the Aerialscope and provides the Union with an order and delivery date for this appliance.
One of the four members, after discussions with the Union, pulled off the course even after being threatened with disciplinary action by the Union member acting as the ACC DCFO. The other three, even after being advised of the Union policy on this matter, refused to pull off the course and completed a 3 day part course. The Union has spoken to the Instructor on this course, who has advised us that he will not sign off the three participants on this part course as instructors.
There are a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is that the Train the Trainer Course is a 5 day course that includes a driving component that is taken by an advanced driving instructor. This was not done on the part course.
The Union is advising members that we know have been approached to participate in a further Train the Trainers Course commencing on 29 January 2008, not to take part in this course until the Regional Manager has agreed to discuss the acquisition of a suitable Type 6 Aerial as promised by the National Commander, a delivery date has been agreed, and an interim solution to the deadlock over the removal of the Aerialscope from service has been found.
To emphasise the Union’s position, we recommend that members do not take part in any Train the Trainers, or Operators Courses, until advised by the Union that the situation has been resolved satisfactorily.
As members may be aware, the Silverdale Station issue has been taken over by the National Council. This came about because the Chief Executive/National Commander believed that the action being taken to maintain MSM by the Auckland Local, that is, not doing non-operational overtime until MSM was secure, was illegal industrial action, even though the Regional Manager of Bay Waikato had, the very same day, directed his staff to do exactly the same thing and ensure the safety of MSM before any non-operational overtime would be carried out.
The Auckland Local was astounded at this double standard, but in the interests of ensuring the Chief Executive/National Commander would discuss the Silverdale issue, the Local agreed for the National Council to act on our behalf. This effectively means that the Auckland Local will have no further influence over the outcome of these negotiations.
The Union Vice President, Athol Conway is now the direct negotiator for the Union and any enquiries should be directed to him in the first instance.
What the Auckland Local is aware of, is that the Protocols between the Yellow Watch and the Volunteer Brigade are in the final stages of negotiation. If and when these are agreed to, the Yellow Watch will again be in place at Silverdale Station. There are other conditions which are in the final stages of negotiation, and members will be advised of the outcome of these as soon as agreement is reached.
Members, particularly those in roster departments, will be acutely aware of the difficulties being encountered by roster staff in maintaining MSM, particularly at weekends.
The Auckland Local urges its members to be aware that the maintenance of MSM is in our interest more than it is in the interest of the Fire Service. In fact, it suits the Fire Service for us to be unable to maintain MSM as it gives them an excuse to run trucks short crewed and to do this on a regular basis. The Auckland Local believes that it is part of the Regional strategy to force trucks to run down by, amongst other things, programming courses back to back and by encouraging members to participate in overtime which removes their availability to do operational overtime.
There have been incidences in the past week when Districts have been so short of staff, that staff on courses have been doing overtime to cover their own vacancies. The Auckland Local believes that this is a ridiculous situation and members should not be carrying out overtime which jeopardises the maintenance of MSM.
Black Watch Courses
The Auckland Local has asked management on numerous occasions not to run courses over the Christmas/ New Year period or during school holidays. Management has chosen not to do as we have requested, and has continued to schedule courses during this period.
As above, the Local asks members not to do courses which remove staff from the availability to carry out overtime on weekends. Do not forget that every time a truck runs below MSM, it gives the Fire Service another opportunity to bolster its argument that we cannot maintain MSM and that when a vacancy occurs, it is not necessary to fill it because it has happened so many times before.