Please see below:

  • A letter from the Union to the Fire Service in April 2008 clearly outlining the Union’s position on the translation of Black Watch workers to Part 4.

  • A self-explanatory letter to the Fire Service of 16 October 2008 in response to the letters recently received by Black Watch workers.

18 April 2008

Michelle Richards
Acting Director – Human Resources
N.Z. Fire Service
P.O. Box 2133
WELLINGTON

Dear Michelle,

I refer to your forwarded proposed new wage rates for Black Watch workers.

There have been difficulties in convening the meeting which was to discuss this amongst other Black Watch issues, and this is significantly disadvantaging our members.

Consequently, the Union proposes that the Part 4 rates be paid immediately and back-dated to 1 January 2008.

Those persons for whom you propose a Part 4 rate lower than their existing wage should continue on present rates until there is an agreement regarding “grandfathering”.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

DEREK BEST
SECRETARY


16 October 2008

Mike Hall
Chief Executive/National Commander
N.Z. Fire Service
P.O. Box 2133
WELLINGTON 6140

Dear Mike,

I refer to the recent correspondence to Union members who are Volunteer Support Officers purporting to translate them onto Part 4 of the Collective Agreement.

  1. These letters, although dated 9 October 2008 (and obviously received later than this), purport to make the change effective from 8 October 2008.

  2. These letters claim that there is an agreement with the NZPFU to make this change.

This is completely incorrect.

All other Union members potentially to be covered under Part 4 e.g. Trainers, Fire Safety Officers, have been translated by agreement.

By letter of 18 April 2008 (copy attached), the Union indicated this fact -

“Those persons for whom you propose a Part 4 rate lower than their existing wage should continue on present rates until there is an agreement regarding “grand-fathering”. 

Despite further discussions, there is no agreement on this point.

I understand the Fire Service maintains that a letter dated 4 September 2008 was sent to the Union advising that, despite the Union’s letter of 18 April 2008, the Fire Service intended to translate VSOs on the basis of an “arbitrary equalization allowance” and to remove and not take into account in determining total earnings, various allowances e.g. Officership Allowance.

The Union has no record of receiving such a letter.

In any event, given the Union’s letter of 18 April 2008, and no evidence of agreement, the Fire Service cannot maintain that the forwarding of such a letter as alleged on 4 September 2008 constitutes some sort of agreement.

The Collective Agreement makes it clear that translation onto Part 4 is to be by agreement (Clause 4.2.3.).

The Union requires therefore that these Volunteer Support Officers remain on their present wages and conditions until the required agreement is reached to translate them onto Part 4.

Although the Union sees this action by the Fire Service as a clear breach of the Collective Agreement, and contrary to good faith, if you are not prepared to immediately assure the Union that these translations will not take place, please be advised that this letter constitutes raising this as a Dispute in terms of Clause 1.9 of the Collective Agreement.

This letter would therefore comply with the requirements of 1.9 (c) of the C.A.

The Union consequently notes the obligation of 1.9 (i) of the Collective Agreement (Peace Obligation).

The Union seeks advice that you intend to cease these translations by 5.00pm Friday 17 October otherwise the Union will take legal action.

Yours sincerely,

DEREK BEST
SECRETARY
c.c. Janine Hearn


Members will be updated as soon as the Fire Service’s response is received.

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As you will be well aware by now, we have finally reached an agreed term of settlement in the negotiation for a new CEA. The NZPFU is recommending members accept it and ratify the settlement offer. The National Committee has completely wrung out the sponge for every possible drop of benefit to members, and it's now our turn to act.


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