Today FENZ has released an amended People Re-set consultation document that does not address key issues the NZPFU has raised with FENZ.

The NZPFU filed a breach of good faith bargaining after FENZ released the original “People Branch Re-Set” in September which included matters that were related to the the NZPFU bargaining claims.  The NZPFU is continuing to pursue those breaches and the first step of mediation will take place later this month.  The previous relevant notice can be viewed at https://www.nzpfu.org.nz/news/fenz-fails-to-consult-nzpfu-on-development-of-proposed-reset-of-people-branch/.

While bargaining continued FENZ was unable to continue with the re-set process as they would have been at risk of further breaches of good faith.  With the settlement of the agreement FENZ has recommenced its process.

The NZPFU was of the understanding that our relevant representatives would be part of discussions prior to the drafting of an amended re-set document.  As members are aware we only reached the point of a recommended settlement on 6 December with 29 ratification meetings being held across and down the length of the country with the vote being declared on the 18th December 2022.

FENZ subsequently provided a draft amended consultation document that the NZPFU had not been involved in.  NZPFU representatives met with newly appointed DCE People Janine Ahern yesterday to discuss the draft proposal and the process that was supposed to have taken place.  Yesterday’s discussion was useful and a few changes made to the document but key matters including the lack of detail in the document remain.  The DCE People has agreed to ongoing discussion and stated a genuine attempt to resolve the key issues. We urged her to hold off sending out the consultation document until we could all work through those issues more fully but FENZ has decided to push on. 

In particular there is a lack of detail to understand the issues or problems the re-set is designed to rectify and what the proposals actually mean in a practical context.

The NZPFU is very concerned there is a lack of acknowledgement and protections for our members in the proposal both in job security and the resulting impact on training.  For example training structures and personnel have the potential to impact on the type, scope and delivery of training and therefore the health, safety and wellbeing of our members, particularly operationally.  It is imperative that firefighters train firefighters and that this “re-set” is not a vehicle to undermine the importance of career training, qualifications and experience in the ongoing training programmes.  It is also vitally important that our members’ qualifications, training and experience are properly recognised and given the weight necessary in any appointment process.  That includes management roles proposed in this document.

We are also very disappointed that FENZ continues to push on with changes for trainers when they could have made real progress within bargaining on some of the issues included, particularly in the structure of trainers and career paths. It was in our view dishonest to be working on this re-set while refusing to develop discussions with us on claims in bargaining that dealt with these very issues.

The NZPFU will continue to push for the necessary changes and protections and the DCE People has agreed to continue meeting during the consultation period.  She has also stated that the responses to the consultation document will be shared and discussed with the NZPFU before any final decisions are made.

Any member who wishes to provide a response to the consultation is requested to provide it to NZPFU Industrial Officer  jonathan@nzpfu.org.nz, or copy Jonathan into any response provided to FENZ.

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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