Happy New Year!
The last 18 months have been a mammoth effort by your national and local representatives and the membership. We hope everyone had some time off (even if only in between rostered hours) or has some time-off planned in the very near future to relax and unwind.
Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief that we have ratified the collective agreement and therefore the bargaining dispute has been resolved. Now the work begins to ensure the benefits are properly implemented and our members are provided with the necessary information to access relevant entitlements.
There have been a few issues arise with the payment of the one-off sign-on bonuses.
- FENZ has acknowledged that for a few hundred members the superannuation was incorrectly calculated. That issue is being remedied and we are expecting it to be resolved this week. We will keep members updated.
- There were four new Comms Centre members that did not get the sign-on bonus. That is expected to be paid this Friday.
- There are a couple of other new members that did not receive the one-off payments. We have raised this issue with FENZ and will update those members personally when we can.
- We have been notified that NZPFU members on leave without pay (LWOP) did not receive the sign-on bonus paid out on Christmas week. We have raised this with FENZ and once the necessary personnel return from leave we will be working to resolve that issue. It would assist us if members on LWOP email firstname.lastname@example.org with their Local, the date they went on LWOP, the reason for the LWOP (e.g. maternity leave). We can then cross-reference with FENZ.
There appears to be a general misunderstanding of the bargaining process and outcomes, particularly for those that retired/resigned and are no longer members of the NZPFU.
Firstly the NZPFU only bargains on behalf of its members. There are various reasons why someone resigns from the Union and of course resigning/retiring from FENZ is one of those reasons. That is a decision beyond the control of the Union.
Secondly it was not the NZPFU’s decision that the backdating would not extend to past members.
- The NZPFU did seek to have all benefits backdated for those that were members but had resigned at some point from 1 July 2021 but FENZ refused.
- Despite not legally representing non-members at the time we did seek to negotiate for those who had been our members as of 1 July 2021 but were unable to get FENZ to agree. Members will remember that FENZ was refusing to backdate wage increases and FENZ’s offers in April and August did not include backdating to 1 July 2021.
- The backdating was never a given for anyone and was hard won. Unfortunately we need did not get everything we sought or the way in which we sought it but we achieved an outcome that was overwhelmingly accepted by the membership.
Like the members before, this campaign and industrial action was to achieve an agreement that would serve our members well now and be a strong foundation for the future. We don’t start from scratch – we start with the wins that the NZPFU membership have achieved over decades and build on those achievements and protections. At our membership meetings in May (voting for strike action) and again in December (ratification meetings) we specifically recognised the past fights and successes of the membership including minimum staffing levels and Fire Super. We do not forget the fights of the past as without the efforts of those that have gone before us we would not be where we are today. We are indebted to the past membership for those hard won gains, and future members will be indebted to those members that achieved this settlement.
I can assure you that the National Committee did everything in its power to achieve the best result we could negotiate. We were able to achieve the outcome through the solidarity of the membership and their commitment to the campaign and the industrial action.
Income Protection and Life Insurance
At the ratification meetings we informed NZPFU members that we had organised an income protection insurance provider for our members, including firefighters. Representatives of Protect will be meeting with the NZPFU to finalise the policy including customising for additional benefits over the next couple of weeks and Protect representatives will be in Wellington for a few days from the 22nd January. We will be setting up presentations from Protect to our members. We will send out more information to members shortly.
We have also requested a joint meeting with FENZ for Protect to outline the policy and benefits as part of the settlement is the intention to organise group cover.
Implementation of the CEA
The NZPFU has written to FENZ to organise a meeting to undertake the necessary work to implement the collective agreement. We have proposed this meeting for the week commencing 22 January. It is important we get the agreed provisions underway including the necessary information for members to access their entitlements. The implementation of the agreement discussions are to include:
- One- off payments and wage increases and allowance increases
- Income Protection and life insurance
- Annual baseline health checks/blood testing
- Psychological support/supervision pilot
- Fleet and Equipment
- Staffing Levels
- Long Notice Retiring Benefit