On Thursday afternoon FENZ verbally informed the NZPFU that a new code of conduct would be distributed organisation wide today for feedback. The NZPFU immediately objected on the basis that the code of conduct sets out the standards on which disciplinary action including dismissal can be determined. The security of employment and income is one of the most basic and serious terms of employment for employees.
Late Friday afternoon DCE People Janine Hearn emailed the NZPFU stating the release would go ahead and bizarrely claimed that working with the NZPFU on this issue would constitute discrimination.
The NZPFU represents approximately 75% of all employees of FENZ, the majority of which are covered by NZPFU the collective agreement.
The NZPFU has notified FENZ that as the standards of conduct are applied to discipline employees including termination on the basis of serious misconduct it is a term of employment and therefore requires agreement.
FENZ is claiming they only need to consult, (which is disputed) but FENZ will have breached the consultation clause if it bypasses the union to distribute to all within the organisation. The NZPFU consultation clause requires FENZ to consult not just on the detail, but whether the change should occur in the first place. That requires genuine consultation with the union.
The fact that FENZ has deliberately chosen to draft a new code of conduct without any input from the union speaks volumes about how FENZ applies its own catch-phrase of “do the right thing”. FENZ has never raised with the Union its views on why the current code is not working or needs to be changed. We have not been provided with a copy of what has been drafted, and despite asking have not been told who has developed this new code.
As the union overwhelmingly represents the vast majority of employees and therefore regularly engaged on the application of the code of conduct via investigations and disciplinary matters, you would think that FENZ would want to work with the NZPFU on this issue. Clearly they are assuming that we will take issue with the changes and are attempting to unilaterally push it through.
We advise members that it is not in your interests to engage with FENZ on this matter including responding to any draft code of conduct provided.
The NZPFU has engaged legal representation to assist with this matter. We will keep members updated.