The Auckland Local has been made aware of harassment tactics being employed by various Chief Fire Officers and Deputy Chief Fire Officers, in relation to the Union’s stance that unapproved members must not fill cylinders because they are not legally allowed to as they would be subject to substantial penalties and because the Union is pursuing an allowance for said work.
Members in some districts are being singled out by their Chief Fire Officer and interviewed, asking them why they are refusing to undertake the training and assessment package for filling BA Cylinders. The option to become qualified has always been voluntary.
Members are reminded that there are three issues here.
Firstly, it is illegal for uncertified members to fill BA Cylinders due to new legal requirements as laid out in the Compressed Gas Regulations. To fill cylinders, you must be in possession of a certificate stating you are qualified to do so.
Secondly, the Union is pursuing an allowance on the basis that the rules have changed for BA Cylinder filling and therefore any talks, discussions or efforts to undermine this process may be seen as bargaining outside the Collective and may well have serious connotations for the Fire Service.
Thirdly, it is completely voluntary to undertake any sort of external qualification that members will not (according to M Hall) get any monetary recognition for.
Members are reminded that the Fire Service must obey their own policies regarding being a good employer and in particular, the section of harassment.
Therefore, if any member feels that they have been harassed by Management, in their efforts to subvert the Union’s claims for payment, they should contact a Local Union Official straight away.
In any event, this is a National Union issue and Fire Service Management is well aware of this and their tactics are reminiscent of past eras and policies that all members had thought were behind them.
Finally, members should, if asked to take part in these harassment-type interviews, at the very least demand that they have a Union Official present as a form of protection, or members should decline the instruction to attend any interviews, citing that Management are well aware of the Union’s stance and for the Chief Fire Officers to contact the Union in the first instance.
Members who require further information or clarification or who wish to have a Union Official present, should contact me in the first instance.