A part of the problem experienced last year in Invercargill was Southern Region management’s refusing to continue to pay a minimum 3 hours for pre-arranged overtime – e.g. for Officer meetings.

The Union believes the practice of paying a minimum of three hours overtime for such meetings is both long standing and widespread around the country. The reason for this is self evident given the inconvenience and cost of returning to work while off duty.

Clause 2.6.10.1 of the C.A. provides the principles when called back to work while off duty.

The Fire Service’s new interpretation of this clause is that it only applies to immediate emergency callouts.

To the Union, the situation is quite clear-cut and simple.

If the Fire Service wants and expects members to return to work while off duty, they must also expect members to be properly and adequately reimbursed.

Officer meetings etc. are seen as important to the operational efficiency of the Brigade, and to expect members to return to work while off duty without a guaranteed minimum payment is a “head in the sand” attitude.

In discussions at a number of forums with most senior Operational Managers, those Managers have agreed that a minimum payment of 3 hours overtime is both fair and reasonable. After all, these persons know that this was the arrangement that applied to them when they were on fire appliances.

However, Human Resources have determined otherwise and that no minimum payment will apply.

The issue was discussed in mediation on Wednesday 9 July. The Union was represented by Steve Warner and Derek Best.

The Fire Service’s sole representative was Steve Fraser, Human Resources Legal Advisor. Astonishingly, no senior Operational Manager attended the Mediation.

Maybe not so surprisingly – maybe Human Resources couldn’t find a senior Operational Manager prepared to back Human Resources’ stupid decision.

Steven Fraser, at mediation, refused to discuss the implications of no guaranteed minimum payment for pre-arranged overtime – clearly Human Resources (all 13 of them at National Headquarters) have no interest in efficiently managing an operational Brigade and in treating members fairly.

As a consequence of Human Resources’ position, the Union strongly recommends to members:

“Unless a minimum payment of 3 hours overtime is guaranteed for pre-arranged overtime e.g. Officer meetings, members refuse to attend such meetings in off duty  time.”

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