Members may have seen a whole of country e‐mail from Janine Hearn dated Monday 24th January 2011. This email refers to the current negotiations between the Union and the NZFS. While our Notice to Members dated 21st January did state that the negotiations had broken down, we did say that further information would be supplied this week.

While there may be some disagreement on whether or not the negotiations have “broken down” the fact is that talks were abandoned on the Thursday when the NZFS said that there was no point in them returning to the bargaining table. The Union’s advising members of this fact is in no way misleading or inaccurate.

It was always envisioned by the Union that talks would resume at some time in the near future. The Union is not about to see negotiations cease forever.

The e‐mail from Janine Hearn stated the following:

Part 3 ‐ Comcen Staff

Change of Watch Provisions. The NZPFU are seeking the inclusion of the change of watch provisions in Part 2 to ensure that members are not required to work any more than an average of 42 hours per week over the eight week roster cycle. As an alternative the NZFS have proposed the inclusion of the following wording, and have agreed to provide a tool to enable staff and managers to calculate the days off between watch changes required to ensure this average is not exceeded. “In changing an employee's watch sufficient time off will be given in the eight week period that the change of watch occurs to ensure that the employee is not rostered to work anymore than an average of 42 hours per week over that eight week period."

The Union would agree that this is the main sticking point in the Part 3 negotiations. We think that the current wording in Part 2 of the CEA covers admirably any concerns that anyone may have on the matter of changing Watch. This clause has worked very well over the many years (nearly 40) that it has been in the CEA and previous documents. Why change it if it isn’t broken, and what are the implications for the Part 2 provisions?

The “tool” that the NZFS supplied did not work when the Union tried to use it.

Part 4 ‐ Black Watch Staff

Volunteer Support Officer Wage Rates. Some time prior to commencing negotiations NZFS provided proposals aimed an enabling a re‐evaluation of the pay rates for VSO's to the NZPFU for comment. To date no formal response to these has been received so the work has not been able to progress to the re‐evaluation stage.

The inclusion of a clause that deems accidents that occur travelling to and from work to be work accidents on the basis that most Part 4 staff have access to work vehicles to travel to and from work.

Once again the Union would agree that these are the main sticking points in Part 4. The re‐evaluation information that was supplied to the Union was part of a Working Party that was set up in the last CEA to look at the whole of Part 4. The Union has talked with the NZFS on this matter and offered some solutions to the way that Volunteer Support Officers are remunerated. The problem is that there are almost as many variations to the roles that are carried out by these members as there are members themselves.

The matter of the work accidents was always in the proposals from the Union.

Wording to be included in the Collective Agreement regarding the trial of some flexible roster options as a supplement to the 10/14 two day two night roster, which will remain unchanged as the core operational roster for current staffing levels has been agreed.

This roster change is probably the most complex issue that the two negotiating parties have to resolve. While at this time the wording of the proposal to run three pilot programs of the flexible roster is in the main agreed, there are matters that fall out of this that are of deep concern to the Union.

As these rosters are introduced, the most alarming matter is that the members of the brigades where the trial takes place will lose over half of the current overtime that they now work. This means that their take home pay, that for many years now has included large amounts of overtime, will be reduced dramatically. A very rough estimate done on the Christchurch Brigade showed that the average gross pay would reduce by around $5000.00 per annum. The estimate is overall approximately a 70% drop in overtime earnings.

It is easy therefore to see why the Union has insisted on a larger pay rise than the NZFS is offering.

The NZFS offer at this time is as follows;

With the flexible roster included;

  • A 2% increase to all wages and allowances from 1 January 2011.
  • A further 2.25% increase to all wages and allowances from 1 January 2012.
  • An expiry of 30 June 2013 (a 2.5 year term).

Without the flexible roster included;

  • A 1% increase to all wages and allowances from 1 January
  • A small lump sum payment (around $500.00)
  • Expiry 30th June 2012 (a 1.5 year term).

The Union claim at this time is as follows:

  • A 3.7% increase to wages and allowances from 1 January 2011
  • A further 4% increase to wages and allowances from 1 January 2012
  • An expiry of 30th June 2012 (a 1.5 year term).
  • The implementation of true hourly rates for overtime from the 1 July 2011.
    (True hourly rates are the Total Weekly Wage divided by 42).

* Something over these increases if Flexible Rosters are to be trialed.

The draft Part 3 document is available for download from the Union’s Website
The draft Part 4 document is available for download from the Union’s Website
The draft Flexible Roster Trial document is available for download from the Union’s Website.

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