Welcome to the downslope of the Omicron outbreak, hopefully this will be the beginning of the end as far as our Covid-19 panic goes.

Covid has led to the demise of a long Career for one of our members and a whole lot of stress and financial disruption to a few others. We must also acknowledge a large percentage of our members suffering health effects from contracting the Omicron variant of Covid-19. Please bear in mind the sometimes long tail of Covid infections, watch out for your fellow brothers and sisters as they recover, for some this may take extended time. Thank you to those that have stepped up to cover the vacancies left by our sick members, we struggle at the best of times with staffing numbers, and having this pandemic around sure doesn’t help to keep bums on seats. I am also desperately hoping that a review of the vaccination policy will happen in a timely fashion, to allow us to welcome a few of our people back to work, if not onto the trucks, to at least allow some form of paid work to commence. They have been left out in the cold for too long.

I’m sure all of you will be aware of the offer received from FENZ for a new Collective Employment Agreement. They seemed to have taken an age to do next to nothing. Don’t get too discouraged about it, it was always going to be their opening gambit. Now our job is to show them what we think about it. The National Council of the NZPFU are recommending to members to reject this offer. Remember, you all have a vote. A unanimous and resounding message can be sent to FENZ Leaders with your vote. If we send as near to 100% message back to FENZ as possible, it shows we mean business. In mid may, we'll be inviting members to attend meetings to hear the detail and implications in the offer and have any questions answered that you may have. We, as part of Northern Branch of the NZPFU, advocated for these meetings to be online via one of the many platforms now used as the norm for such meetings. Unfortunately investigations reveal  this would require a change in the union rules that will unnecessarily delay the response to FENZs’ offer. Despite this, I would implore you to attend one of the meetings when they are announced. It is very important that you both hear, and have your say, on the options for industrial action that will be offered for you to vote on. If you do not attend then you cannot have a vote. We must take a stand now to encourage our newly appointed Chief Executive to “Kia Tika” and do the right thing by the staff that actually do the mahi on the front line.  We can no longer afford to be ignored and insulted with meagre offerings for the hugely valuable work we do.

Please standby for the soon to announced dates that will enable you to express your opinions.

Mike Swanson
Tauranga Local Secretary NZPFU
“Helping you to help yourself”

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