Members are advised that it is not in their interests to participate in FENZ’s Volunteer Support Function Review including the survey until further notice.

On the 31 May FENZ sent out a draft Terms Of Reference (TOR) for a Region Volunteer Support Function Review. The NZPFU had not been consulted at all prior and the draft TOR was unacceptable for many reasons including the omission of any NZPFU representation on the Governance Group, Advisory Group or the Project Team but providing for specific volunteer and UFBA representation.  The NZPFU responded to the TOR on 10 June but have not received any response or the final TOR.

Today we received an email stating that FENZ was commencing the project with a survey of the roles that support volunteers being sent out on 1 August.  The NZPFU has not seen the survey, does not know who it will be sent to, who will access the survey responses and what protections are in place to ensure the survey is properly administered and acted upon.  We again wrote to FENZ this morning stating we had not had a response to the issues we have raised about the project TOR and that we would be informing our members not to participate until we were properly consulted.  We have been informed that some have already received the survey even though Project Business Owner Mike Grant claimed it would not be sent out until 1 August 2022.

It is not in our members’ interest to participate in this Review or Survey until the NZPFU has been properly consulted and we have been able to ascertain NZPFU representation on the project and have had input on the scope and nature of the survey.

This is just another example of FENZ attempting to avoid any NZPFU representation on projects and its continued breaches of the consultation requirements in accordance with the collective agreement.  Recent examples of disputes we have notified include:

  • Community Risk Managers unilaterally developing a matrix and assessment process to determine Risk Reduction Advisors progression.  Progression through the steps is part of the NZPFU bargaining claim and expressly included in the collective agreement yet FENZ did not notify the NZPFU let alone consult with the union. 
  • Procurement policy: The serious fire appliance fleet issues are partly as a result of FENZ to have a robust and transparent procurement policy.  FENZ cannot seem to grasp that the NZPFU has a right to be consulted on all matters affecting our members including their health and safety.  Leaving procurement up to FENZ has already proven to result in epic failures of fleet.
  • Incident Capability and Payments Alignment: Payments for domestic and international deployments have been a source of aggravation for many years with huge disparity and lack of transparency.  Despite it also being a claim in bargaining FENZ has commenced this process without any consultation or engagement with the NZPFU. 
  • FENZ national notice on new procedures recognising long covid which unlawfully required disclosure of medical information and putting unrealistic expectations on diagnosis and prognosis that would have resulted in NZPFU members being unnecessarily kept out of the workplace.

Despite the CEO Kerry Gregory and the Board Chair Rebecca Keoghan both claiming that they wish to improve communications and the relationship with the NZPFU, FENZ’s actions have not changed.  We continue to see FENZ avoiding consultation and attempting to march on with change with only belated information to the NZPFU and sometimes no notification at all.

FENZ needs an attitude change.  Those affected need to be involved in decisions and avoidance of the obligation to consult will only result in continual disputes.

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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