New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union

Welcome



Welcome to the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union.

The NZPFU is a key partner with the Fire Service in delivering the Fire Service's strategic vision of reducing the incidence and consequence of fire and to provide a professional response to other emergencies.

NZPFU representatives are based on all career fire stations. There are also 19 Union Locals in the major metropolitan and principal centres where career firefighters are employed.




Sep 05 2014

Notice to Taupo Local Members

Notice to Taupo Local Members

It has come to the attention of the Taupo Local that Kinloch Fire Brigade is now being used more often as backup for Taupo Station as either standby crew or as backup to Taupo crews when responding to an incident.

The Taupo Local’s concerns are that Kinloch has responded short crew, and this also can be without an Officer in Charge of the Kinloch appliance. I refer members to NZFS Policy on short crewing.

On arrival at Taupo Station when responded short crew, Kinloch are now expecting to either cross man the Taupo appliances or expecting the Taupo staff to man the Kinloch appliance with the Kinloch crew members.

This raises several Health and Safety concerns for the Taupo Local and to ensure our members’ wellness and wellbeing, the Local issues the following:

“No member of the Taupo Local of the NZPFU is to allow the cross manning by Kinloch Volunteers of any Taupo appliances, nor will any member of the Taupo Local be expected to cross man the Kinloch appliance when responded as cover for Taupo Station.”

Crews need to be aware that, at times, the Kinloch appliance will be responded to back up Taupo crews at incidents. If Kinloch has responded short crewed and/or without an Officer for their appliance, Taupo members of the NZPFU will need to ensure they are fully manned. If not, they need to consider making additional coverage arrangements when this occurs.

This notice will remain in effect until further notice.

Documents: (Click to view)

    14-32 PDF icon

    14-32.pdf | pdf | 28 KB | Last Changed: 05/09/2014 4:20pm


Sep 01 2014

NTM 11/2014

NTM 11/2014

BA SETS 

It has been over a year now since the roll out of the new Drager BA sets and while the Fire Service has admitted that this roll out did not go very well and  was inadequate,  the follow up issues arising out of the roll out seems to be just as inadequate.

The Union has been involved on the National B.A. Working Group and is struggling to gain any progress on the outstanding issues with these BA sets. The last meeting of this group was in January of this year and issues arising out of this meeting are still outstanding and unresolved. The Union has requested both by e-mail and by letter for further meetings, yet the Fire Service has failed to respond to these requests.

The new Fire Service  vision 20/20 was to supply firefighters with the very best equipment available to do the job that is required of them and  while we will not disagree that this equipment was the best available at the time, there is a number of issues with this equipment that does need urgent attention.

The motion sensors are still causing the biggest problem for our members, although a trial is taking place at the moment with the Bodyguard 1000 at a new setting.

With the failure of a number of sets with kinking hoses the Union has requested that all hoses on these sets are replaced as soon as the new hoses become available from Drager.

The communication set up on these sets only works in some areas which also needs to be addressed urgently. We have asked for all communication leads on those sets that are not compatible with the radios to be removed and replaced with blanks and this has not been done.

The Union is doing its best to help rectify these issues and many more, but there seems to be a reluctance from the Fire Service to communicate fully with the Union and a reluctance to meet.

Introduction of the Relieving Shift for QFF and Above

The Current Collective Agreement between the NZPFU and NZFS provides for the introduction of a new relieving shift.

In discussion with the Fire Service, it has been agreed that this will NOT simply occur “overnight” on a given date and will ONLY occur in full consultation with the National Committee.  Suitable arrangements will need to be made to ensure the effective and safe introduction of this shift.

Recruits who have been employed since September 2012 may be appointed to this new shift upon reaching QFF, or others may agree to move to this relieving shift under the terms of the collective, including additional payment for being on the shift.

No current staff recruited before September 2012 can be required to move onto the new relieving shift without agreement.  This includes current relieving staff employed prior to 2012. 

ALL staff moving to this shift when it is trialled (see below) and introduced later will be eligible for the additional payments provided for in the Collective Agreement.

Trial Prior to Implementation

The NZPFU and NZFS are currently in discussion about the practicality of potentially trialling the relieving shift in an Area or Region, rather than moving to a full National implementation. This will take some time to progress once agreed. This will allow the parties to monitor the practical benefits and assess the costs/benefits and potentially make any necessary reasonable modifications before proceeding to full implementation at a later date.

Any such trial will involve full consultation with local management and affected staff prior to commencement. 

Staffing above MSM and Establishment in the Interim

In some Regions/Areas there may be a number of additional staff over and above establishment as recruitment levels remain high enough to provide the future numbers downstream to successfully trial/implement the relieving shift.

It has been agreed at a National Level with NZPFU in terms of the Collective Agreement that where there are additional staff above Establishment, these will be accommodated and managed in such a way as to ensure the safety of themselves and others.  Any additional crewing will only occur where the additional crew member is fully aware of the nature of their role and appropriate steps are taken to ensure their safety, relative to that role.

Aug 25 2014

Preventing Firefighter Cancer

Preventing Firefighter Cancer

The Silent Threat - Preventing Firefighter Cancer

The Fire Service has set up a comprehensive programme of work to focus on reducing firefighters’ exposure to carcinogens and other harmful substances in the workplace. The programme is a joint initiative involving the NZPFU and the UFBA.

 

Aug 22 2014

NTM 10/2014

NTM 10/2014

Christchurch Bravery Awards

On Thursday 14th August Derek Best and I had the privilege of attending the reception held in for the Recipients of the Bravery Awards.

It was an honour to be there to share this time with the Firefighters and their Families.

The Union congratulates all those who received the medals.  They exemplify the role of all Firefighters in New Zealand, who continue to strive to achieve results, under extreme and adverse conditions.

We also extend our thanks to the New Zealand Fire Service for providing the reception in honour of this group.

Thank you for the invitation.  This was a function we were delighted to attend.

Peter Nicolle
President NZPFU

Matters being discussed with Fire Service

As well as the usual ongoing matters, the following particular issues are of interest and significance.

  • Payment problems subsequent to the 1 July increase:
    These particularly related to the grand-fathered group and even more particularly, Q.F.F.  For the most part, these have been resolved satisfactorily.

  • Problems with P.P.E. – B.A, Helmets, Wet Weather Gear:
    There is no quick fix. Clearly the roll-outs were inadequate and faulty.  The lesson (once again) is that any roll-out of anything must be much better done.

  • Relieving – and associated issues:
    The introduction of the new relievers is still some way away and it is likely that there will be a trial/pilot exercise before any wider introduction occurs.
    A particular issue raised is the interim over-staffing that occurs and how that is dealt with.
    The Union’s position on a 5th person on an appliance with regard to P.P.E. is very clear – all members riding on an appliance must be fully provided with P.P.E.

  • Medical Responses and particularly Training:
    The Fire Service has accepted that there has been a very significant workload in a number of localities (e.g. Auckland) and the Union is pressing for answers.

  • Exposures Project (Cancer):
    Work is progressing and the awareness video has been distributed.

  • Vision 2020 Meetings:
    The information from these meetings is presently being assembled.

  • Job Sizing:
    Examples are being monitored.

  • Health & Safety:
    This includes Accident Investigations and the forthcoming changes to the Health & Safety legislation.

SMS - Home Address 

As part of the project to improve/update information to enable contact in the case of an emergency, SMS is now being used to implement/update home addresses.

As with the emergency contact/next of kin information, the implementation/update will be the responsibility of the individual on a voluntary basis – however, the Union does encourage members to provide accurate information asap.

National Risk Resource Model 

Joint message from NRFA, NZFS, NZPFU and UFBA attached.

Documents: (Click to view)

    National-Risk-Resource-Model-20-August PDF icon

    National-Risk-Resource-Model-20-August.pdf | pdf | 152 KB | Last Changed: 22/08/2014 1:03pm


Jul 10 2014

Firefighters Scholarship 2014/2015

Firefighters Scholarship 2014/2015

Do you have a great idea for improving some aspect of the New Zealand Fire Service that aligns with current organisational strategy and Vision 2020? If so, check out the Firefighters’ Scholarship.

The Firefighters’ Scholarship provides an opportunity to research or study a topic or undertake a project relevant to any area of the Fire Service’s strategic plan. Eligible applicants include career firefighters and officers (up to / including Senior Station Officers) and Comcen Communicators, Senior Communicators and Shift Managers who have a minimum of five years’ service.

The Firefighters Scholarship offers a unique professional and personal development opportunity to staff that will also be of significant benefit to the Fire Service and assist the Commission in achieving the Vision 2020: ‘Leading integrated fire and emergency services for a safer New Zealand – Te Manatū o ngā ratonga ohotata kia haumaru ake ai a Aotearoa.’

Documents: (Click to view)

    2014-15-Scholarship-promotion-Associated-agencies PDF icon

    2014-15-Scholarship-promotion-Associated-agencies.pdf | pdf | 138 KB | Last Changed: 10/07/2014 6:56pm


Jul 08 2014

NTM 9/2014

NTM 9/2014

Over-payments

The Union has been advised that a small number of members (19), have apparently been over-paid - some for up to around 6 -7 months. These are persons who were in the groups that were intended to be grand-fathered as a consequence of the pay changes last year.

The Union is working through the issue with the Fire Service and those persons concerned will be notified directly. As well, it is intended that meetings will be offered to the affected members to discuss the issue with management and Union officials.

Pay Review - Black Watch and Com. Centres

Job Descriptions have been completed for Com. Centre staff and for Fire Safety.
Work is continuing to finalize Job Descriptions for Trainers and V.S.O.s

Wet Weather Gear

The Union is aware of the problems with the distribution of Wet Weather Gear and has ensured that Senior Managers are also aware and are addressing the issues. Given the well documented problems with new equipment recently (e.g. B.A.), it is very disappointing to see numerous problems with the distribution of this wet weather gear, but the urgency at this time is to get the problem fixed.

Trial of New Equipment

For some time the Union has been concerned at the unstructured, haphazard nature of many of the so-called trials that have occurred. Trials ought to be important and provide verifiable and useful results.

Management has accepted that things need to be improved and the Union expects to see more formal protocols and structures around trials in the future.

Carcinogenic Exposure Project

A deal of background/backroom progress has been made and an informative D.V.D. is about to be released. The various stream groups have also commenced work.

It is expected that a Business Case for a longer term extended project will be completed shortly.

Documents: (Click to view)

    NTM-No-9-8-July-2014 PDF icon

    NTM-No-9-8-July-2014.pdf | pdf | 40 KB | Last Changed: 08/07/2014 10:18pm


Jun 10 2014

NTM 8/2014: PCA Payment 2014

NTM 8/2014: PCA Payment 2014

The attached chart details the P.C.A. Payment.

It is intended for this to be paid on the pay-day Wednesday 25th June 2014.

Individual nett payments will be dependent on each worker’s increase and tax code at the time of payment.

The nett payment outlined is an estimate based on the top PAYE rate of 34.45%.

Documents: (Click to view)

    PCA-Payment PDF icon

    PCA-Payment.pdf | pdf | 440 KB | Last Changed: 10/06/2014 12:43pm


Jun 06 2014

NTM 7/2014

NTM 7/2014

Joint NZPFU - NZFS National Notice

2014 Market Rate Review for Staff Employed on the NZPFU Collective Agreement

The Collective Agreement (CA) agreed between the Fire Service and the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union in 2013 prescribes a review of market rates in May of each year that the agreement remains in force.

The 2014 market rates have been now been reviewed using the same approach that was applied when the new rates were established in 2013, including the annual market movement for the peer group that was used in 2012 to benchmark firefighter pay.

The average peer group movement for the year to March 2014 is 2.26%. However, the NZPFU proposed an increase to this adjustment to 2.5% in recognition of the particular role of fire fighters.

The following outcomes have been agreed between the NZFS and the NZPFU:

1. An increase of 2.5%, with effect from 1 July 2014, to each of the following:

  • Total Weekly Wage (TWW) rates for all Firefighter and Officer grades set out in Part 5 of the CA with the exception of the grand-parented rates in tables 7A, 7B, 7C, 7D, 7E and 7F. (The updated rate tables are attached as Appendix 1)
  • Remuneration rates for Communicators and Shift Managers as set out in Part 3 of the CEA. (See Appendix 2
  • Remuneration rates for those Black Watch positions covered by Part 4 of CE. (See Appendix 3
  • Allowance rates set out in Part 5 of the CEA. (The updated tables are included in Appendix 1).

2. The increase to the Part 3 and Part 4 rates is being implemented at this time to ensure these groups are not disadvantaged while the Part 3 and Part 4 Working Parties are still in progress.

3. Under clause 3.g of the Record of Agreement (dated 10 /09/13), fire fighters have achieved a 16 % reduction in the short term sickness absence levels to an average of 5.80 shifts per person for the period 1 May 2013 to 30 April 2014. This is notably more than the agreed 10% reduction to 6.25 required to implement the increase in overtime rates for 2014.

4. The updated rates also include:

  • The previously agreed transition of officers to 95% of the agreed market rate
  • An increase in the calculation of the overtime rates for:
    • Firefighters - to 1.2 times the standard hourly rate for the first three hours of all overtime worked on a weekday, and before 12pm on a Saturday
    • Officers – to 1.1 times the standard hourly rate for the first three hours of all overtime worked on a weekday, and before 12pm on a Saturday
  • For the avoidance of doubt, the following overtime rates will continue to be calculated at the same rates as applied in 2013 but they will be adjusted by the increase in the hourly rate. The calculation rates are: 
    • Firefighters
      • 1.33 times the standard hourly rates for all overtime worked in excess of the first three hours, and all overtime worked after 12pm on a Saturday, or at any other time on a Sunday
      • 1.5 times the standard hourly rate for all overtime worked on a public holiday
    • Officers
      • 1.3 times the standard hourly rates for all overtime worked in excess of the first three hours, and all overtime worked after 12pm on a Saturday, or at any other time on a Sunday
      • 1.5 times the standard hourly rate for all overtime worked on a public holiday
  • Transition of those firefighters and officers currently on grand-parented grades to the grades in Tables 2A and 2B, where their current paid rate has been overtaken by the market movement in the permanent grade. All grand-parented staff will transition to the substantive grades from 1 July 2014 with the exception of those Qualified Firefighters who are covered by Table 7B where they have not completed Senior Firefighter TAPS modules 1-3. 

All increased rates will be applicable from 1 July 2014, and the NZFS is planning to arrange payment of the increased rates for the payday 9 July 2014. Please note that there will need to be a freeze on any other salary changes for the pay period in which the new rates are implemented. Any status amendments will be held over until the next available pay, and any applicable back pay will be paid.

What does this mean for you?

  • For staff employed on Parts 3 and 4 of the CA, existing remuneration rates will increase by 2.5%. Use the links below to see the new rates.
  • For firefighters and officers, increased rates will apply but some staff that were placed in grand-parented grades from 1 July 2013 will now move to the substantive rates set out in tables 2A and 2B of part 5 of the CA. Use the link below to see the new rates.

Updated Charts and Tables

Documents: (Click to view)

    Appendix-1 PDF icon

    Appendix-1.pdf | pdf | 2.6 MB | Last Changed: 06/06/2014 1:53pm


    Appendix-2 PDF icon

    Appendix-2.pdf | pdf | 119 KB | Last Changed: 06/06/2014 1:53pm


    Appendix-3 PDF icon

    Appendix-3.pdf | pdf | 120 KB | Last Changed: 06/06/2014 1:53pm


    Examples-of-Transition-from-Grand-parented-Rates-to-Substantive-Rates PDF icon

    Examples-of-Transition-from-Grand-parented-Rates-to-Substantive-Rates.pdf | pdf | 779 KB | Last Changed: 06/06/2014 1:53pm


May 30 2014

NTM 6/2014

NTM 6/2014

Stand-Ins – Public Holidays

Subsequent to agreement between the Union and Fire Service, the following will apply:

  • The person actually working (doing the stand-in) will receive the additional .5 payment at their appropriate hourly rate.

Black Watch – Attraction Strategies

In conjunction and associated with the Part 4 Job Sizing exercise, the Fire Service has established a group including Union Representative Peter Hallett, to look at the overall issue of attraction of people into Black Watch positions.

The Union supports this project and encourages participation. This project is not designed to specifically address remuneration or C.A. issues, but the information collected might identify matters such as remuneration, which will be forwarded to the appropriate C.A. Working Parties.

Working Parties – C.A.

The Working Parties looking at Black Watch and Com. Centres are in the process of developing relevant Job Descriptions for relevant benchmark positions. Once this has been completed, the benchmark positions will be subject to the Job Sizing exercise undertaken last year for operational staff.

Collective Agreement – Pay Rise

Work has nearly been completed between the Union and the Fire Service using data collected by Hays to determine the pay increase to apply from 1 July 2014. As well absence rates relative to the Agreement on the increase in Overtime Rates will be considered.

There will be a need to amend all the charts as in the Part 5 Tables & Charts. This is a considerable exercise.

It is expected that the finalized information will be able to be released next week and this will include the % increase and the amended charts including amended Overtime Rates.

Qualified Firefighters – those affected by Strike Action

The Union and the Fire Service have concluded an Agreement to resolve this Dispute. A copy of this Agreement is attached.

The Agreement provides a collective payment of some $87,000 to the affected workers.

As well, the Agreement provides that all reasonable steps will be taken by all parties to ensure that the requirements for progression to S.F.F. will be achieved within the normal 4 year cycle.

Documents: (Click to view)

    Settlement-Agreement PDF icon

    Settlement-Agreement.pdf | pdf | 89 KB | Last Changed: 30/05/2014 11:49am


    NTM-No.-6-30-May-2014 PDF icon

    NTM-No.-6-30-May-2014.pdf | pdf | 43 KB | Last Changed: 06/06/2014 10:22am


Apr 17 2014

NTM 5/2014

NTM 5/2014

QFF Progression Dispute

The Employment Relations Authority held the Investigation Meeting regarding this dispute in Wellington on 15 April.

The Authority reserved its decision but gave a preliminary indication that:

  • It was unlikely that any agreement had been made;
  • That the employer’s interpretation of the Progression Clause (essentially that all progression requirements needed to be completed before progression and that the consequent pay increase only take place once all these requirements were met) was likely to be upheld.

The Authority has indicated a decision would be put on hold until after Easter to see if the parties are able to resolve the matter by discussion.

This discussion is occurring and progress is being made – but some matters are quite technical and require close legal scrutiny.

The Union is very hopeful that these discussions will result in a jointly acceptable outcome.

ACC Consent Form

In the light of the recent ruling about the validity and the use of the ACC Consent Forms, the Union has raised the implications of this ruling to the form the Fire Service uses.

The Fire Service has accepted there are issues that need to be addressed and are working to:

  • Amend the form as necessary;
  • Consider the way in which the form is used – information collected and used.

The Fire Service has agreed to discuss with the Union the updated/redrafted form and its use.

If any members believe they have been disadvantaged by the previous interpretation/application or the use of the form, please advise this office.

Documents: (Click to view)

    NTM-No-5-17-April-2014 PDF icon

    NTM-No-5-17-April-2014.pdf | pdf | 35 KB | Last Changed: 17/04/2014 7:57pm


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