VSOs not required to carry additional workloads

The NZPFU has confirmed with the National Commander that VSOs are not to be expected to pick up additional workloads when Tranche 2 stands up next month.  Unreasonable workloads are a health and safety issue.

With the disestablishment of DPFRO positions there will be rural volunteer stations that will no longer have a dedicated resource.  VSO positions were not part of the Tranche 2 restructure.  The job has not changed.  The VSO cannot be required to take on additional workload if that workload is unreasonable including the additional travel and impact on their circumstances.  Few current VSOs would have any capacity to add additional stations to their workloads.

VSOs are already reporting high workloads responsible for large number of stations requiring varying support and for some significant travel.  The nature of VSO work also varies depending on the needs of the volunteer stations they support.  VSOs have reported being called into meetings to discuss the impact of the stand-up of Tranche 2 on 27 September.  It appears some managers wrongly assume they can load up the VSOs further to bridge the gap.

The NZPFU has discussed this pressing issue with the National Commander who has confirmed it is not the intention to load up VSOs with bigger workloads.  We have asked the National Commander to inform management and to send out communications to ensure VSOs are not going to be pressured to increase workloads.

Any VSO asked to take on more work or additional stations can refuse to do so if that would result in an unreasonable workload.  

  • If a member is asked to attend a meeting or is presented with a proposal for changes to their work and workload please first seek union support and representation.
  • Ask for all information regarding any proposed changes.  You do not need to respond to any proposal immediately.  You can consider the information and seek advice before responding.      
  • If the proposed changes would result in an unreasonable workload then the manager should be informed and provided for the reasons why it would be unreasonable.  This may include additional travel or impact on current circumstances.

FENZ is well aware there is going to be a gap and will be reviewing the volunteer support workloads in the future.  It is important that VSO workloads do not mask the impact of the Tranche 2 restructure so that the review can appropriately assess the necessary level of staffing.  The NZPFU has also included additional VSO positions in our collective bargaining claims.

This is a stressful time for many.  No one should struggle alone.  We can assist with ensuring access to the appropriate support.  We ask all to be mindful of the impact of the restructure on many of our members and that some may need additional support.

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary  

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