MAN Recovery Project
This project continues, with fixes having been put in place to correct the safety issues rightly raised by Locals.
A meeting of some National and affected Local Union officials was held on the 2nd of February in Wellington, to decide on and agree, a path forward.
A robust testing regime of the safety issues (raised by Locals, and agreed to by the Fire Service), is being planned by a group nominated by Locals with MAN Appliances in their stations.
It is important to remember that this is not a trial of a prototype, rather a test of the fixes put in place to remedy the issues already raised.
This is being done in consultation and co-operation with the Fire Service.
A training package is in the process of being developed and will be rolled out to coincide with the testing.
Further testing could lead to significant improvements for future roll-outs.
Members need to be aware that the Union is not simply sitting back and complaining about the very many dangerous, illogical and unfair decisions being made regarding the creation of FENZ.
- The Union put its critical issues in a number of meetings to the group of bureaucrats who initially devised that initial approach – particularly the vital importance of not having a civilian Chief Executive and the Operational Command and Control functions.
- The Union met with the Minister on a number of occasions to emphasis the same
- The Union met both National and Labour Politicians from the Select Committee prior to Committee meeting – made a Submission to the Select committee and attended and spoke to our Submission. The Union had a real expectation that after those conversations, necessary changes would be made to the Bill – however the bureaucrats would not allow this. The Union is not the only submitter extremely disappointed that necessary changes to the Bill were not made.
- The Union will meet with the Minister again to voice our issues of concern.
- The Union meets regularly with the Chair of the Commission and the National Commander/Chief Executive.
- The Union meets regularly (every 2 weeks) with the Director of the Transition Office. Discussion has commenced on issues such as how Gratuity and Medical Boarding can operate fairly if the Bill provisions go through.
- There is as always a great deal of day to day informal contact and interaction at all levels.
Unlike the 1990’s, the changes today revolve around a new piece of Legislation (the Fire Service Act disappears); the new Legislation gives almost all power to the Commission – as the new Board who are politically appointed. Any Operational personnel (e.g. a National Commander) only has powers that the Board or the Chief Executive may choose to delegate.
The original objectives for the establishment of FENZ was to
- Properly recognise the expanded mandate.
- Merge Urban and Rural
- Fix the funding
It seems clear that only objective 1) will be achieved. The new Regional Rural positions leaves the merger in tatters and the long term funding issues are still stalled.
There was nothing in the Ministers initial proposal to (for example)
- Reduce Firefighters conditions of employment
- Civilianise the Service starting at the top
- Removing the concept of ‘Service’
- Remove all statutory Operational functions.
- Spend tens of millions of dollars on rebranding and logo
But as noted above, this demise of what firefighters believe as important, results from a change in Legislation – a Political process.
Members and Locals need to consider what if any Political response they want to be part of. Union Officials simply telling Politicians and bureaucrats clearly is not sufficient. Arguments based on facts, on history, on logic and fairness are not enough.