Members advised to have Union representation at any meetings

We understand FENZ intends to release its final decisions for Tranche 2 and 2B next week.

FENZ CEO Rhys Jones and the National Commander Kerry Gregory will be meeting with the NZPFU National Secretary and National President on Monday to outline the “organisation structure decisions regarding service delivery to rank”.

We understand members previously identified by FENZ as “affected” or “impacted” have received invitations to outline the implications of the decisions on their permanent or seconded positions.

  • NZPFU members are advised to request representation from your NZPFU Local to attend any such meeting.  No one should meet with their manager or employer on matters regarding their position or terms and conditions of employment without representation.  The meeting should be held at a time that your representative can attend.  If your union representative can’t attend then the meeting needs to be rescheduled.
  • You are entitled to record the meeting provided you inform all attendees it is being recorded.  If you wish to record the meeting and the participants refuse to agree to the meeting being recorded, stop the meeting and state you cannot attend on that basis.
  • Declare at the start of the meeting that you are attending only on the basis that this is to be an information meeting.  You are only attending to be provided with the decision and the implications on your permanent or seconded position.  This is your opportunity to ask questions and get as much information as possible on job descriptions, appointment processes, and timelines including key dates.
  • Ask for all information provided verbally to also be provided in writing and sent to you email.
  • Stop the meeting if the Manager attempts to seek information from you.  This is not a meeting to discuss your personal circumstances or preferences, or what you intend to do as a result of the impact on your role. It is very important that members do not agree to any change in their employment without first seeking advice from their union representative.
  • Even when the security of employment is not in jeopardy, this will be a stressful time for those involved.  Please ensure you are informed by your manager how you can access all support as necessary including paid leave, counselling and mental wellbeing assistance.

As members are aware the NZPFU has a dispute before the Employment Court regarding FENZ’s intention to give preference to personnel who are not qualified or experienced professional career firefighters for the proposed District Manager and Group Manager positions.  That matter is yet to be set down to be heard.   Other legal questions may arise depending on the final structure and decisions on appointment processes, job descriptions and final structure.

The NZPFU has been very clear throughout this process that any attempt to undermine the safe systems of work by having non-qualified and inexperienced personnel appointed into operational management roles will not be tolerated.  The lives and safety of firefighters depends on the current career rank system that ensures only the qualified and experienced are in command and managing career firefighters.   About 1000 professional career firefighters provided written submissions on the proposed rank and role structure emphasising the risk to their health and safety if the proposal was implemented.   The NZPFU then met with FENZ on a number of occasions to discuss the issues and fatal flaws in the proposal. We have yet to be told whether those key issues have been addressed.

In March and April 2020 the NZPFU provided detailed feedback on the Tranche 2 and Tranche 2B proposed positions raising workloads, responsibilities, accountability and lack of requirements for qualifications and experience.  FENZ has not responded to that feedback. In addition, FENZ has yet to negotiate terms and conditions of employment for new positions resulting from the proposed disestablishment of FRMO positions. 

Depending on the outcome of the decisions to be announced next week, we may have to take further legal action to enforce the rights of our members. 

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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