Update from NUPE: (sorry it has been so long in coming)
All the NUPE membership on the General Collective will receive an increase of 1% effective from the 30 June 2013 and then another increase of 1% at 1.Dec 2013 and another increase of 1.5% on 30 June 2014.
NUPE members covered by the Managers Collective Agreement bargaining:
The bargaining for Site managers, YJ and Care Managers and TLOs is happening on the 20th June 2013.
Meeting with Paula Bennett 13th June:
Today (13th June) Janice Gemmell met with the Minister Paula Bennett. NUPE had sought this meeting advising that we were seeking to discuss matters specific to the Coordinators, safety on the frontline, disciplinary process and funding.
The meeting was very helpful and provided some answers and some direction.
The first piece of information was that Chester Borrows is the Minister responsible specifically for Youth Justice and the Residences. I did express to Paula Bennett my concern for staff working in the residences for the challenging behaviours they encounter and high number of remand YPs now and the challenges, NVCI and especially around safety. NUPE has already requested a meeting with Chester Borrows (he is ex-Police) and does have a particular interest in matters of safety on the front line so that will be a good meeting. I intend to ensure a member will attend this meeting with me. Today I attended on my own as it was the date was short notice as Paula Bennett had been unwell.
I spoke to Paula Bennett about our concerns for the Coordinators and their role within CYF and sought information from her about this governments commitment to FGC’s and to Coordinators remaining with CYF. Paula Bennett was very forthcoming on these points and was very clear that she is ‘fully on board’ with FGC’s and absolutely confirmed that they are here to stay.
I asked Paula about Coordinators staying within CYF. This was also confirmed that Coordinators would remain within CYF. What she then went on to say was that there will be an increase in FGC’s as the new Care Strategy is being rolled out. It was an interesting discussion as she seemed to be very aware of the frustrations held by Coordinators restricting funding and therefore how they could deliver the FGC. Paula Bennett also said they have been looking that Coordinators are being backed properly to ensure the FGC can be delivered properly (she seemed aware of the frustrations on the limits to deliver FGC in the office etc.)
Paula Bennett then went on to talk about the work currently being done in the Vulnerable Children’s Board. This board is currently headed up by MSD but consists of Health, Housing, Education Police, TPK. Paula Bennett was talking about ensuring the care of and therefore the funding for vulnerable children is owned by all these groups and not just CYF. There is legislation currently being written that will result is all these relevant areas being responsible and therefore assisting with funding.
Paula Bennett talked about the Child Protection teams and the work currently being done to look how to take pressure off the frontline CYF and the high numbers of notifications (over time) she said work was being done to identify who will make the call on threshold and where a notification sits(i.e. within CYF or at a NGO)
I talked with her about our concern for the safety of staff on the frontline particularly when they are isolated or going into areas that at times has no phone coverage. I did specify Wairoa as an area of concern. Paula Bennett was actually really sympathetic to this situation and even talk of some personal experiences of feeling a bit vulnerable in this regard in a couple of recent situations. Paula Bennett did say she would talk with Bernadine about these safety situations for the frontline staff.
I briefly spoke on funding and the capping for CYF compared to WINZ, she explained that WINZ is actually also capped but an individual going on a benefit does trigger a funding for this specific need.
Paula Bennett stated that the new Children’s direction will result in more communication and connections for support staff and differential response staff with NGO’s
Paula Bennett did seem aware of the frustrations about funding and that is why she is focussing on ensuring other agencies also pick up responsibility that is their core business e.g. health, std of housing etc.
I will let everyone know when I get a date for a meeting with Chester Burrows.
Meeting with Bernadine McKenzie:
On Thursday 16th May Janice Gemmell and Phil Grice ( NUPE Convenor and RSW at Te Puna Wai) met with Bernadine McKenzie. We sought the meeting given that the NUPE secretary has changed with Martin Cooney leaving and Janice Gemmell now appointed. It was important to meet as the styles of relationship and communication are different.
Phil and Janice outlined to Bernadine that while we are keen to be able to be involved in the strategic direction type discussions with CYF our absolute priority is to represent, raise concerns/ issues particularly health and safety matters for our membership. We were clear that it is the membership that we are accountable to.
The meeting was positive and there was some good discussion. We have agreed that there should be a quarterly meeting between the parties. The purpose of these is to ensure communication and NUPE is well informed on major initiatives and directions. NUPE will also ensure this pathway to Bernadine is used when matters of concern need to be escalated.
Janice Gemmell attended the NVCI workshop recently in Wellington. Janice was invited to attend as NUPE has been raising significant concerns to CYF about staff safety given the interpretation on what occurs if a staff member acts outside of NVCI when physically restraining a Young Person. The workshop provided some information however NUPE members will always be represented if investigations occur which may result in a disciplinary process. The use of force situation can become a serious matter and can result in loss of employment so it is a priority for us to deal with.
NUPE raised some time ago our concern that CYF have applied a block in progression when a staff member has had a disciplinary process resulting in a warning during the year of the PDS. NUPE does not believe this block is legal given the words that exist within the PDS and the Collective Agreement.
Janice wrote and requested that CYF outline their position CYF responded advising:
‘I confirm that there is not a blanket policy that employees who are subject to a disciplinary process should automatically be disqualified from receiving a performance increase under the current contractual and policy arrangements, but that every individual case should be reviewed on its merits before making such a decision.’
I then wrote back providing a segment of a disciplinary letter given to a NUPE member during the current PDS year:
“Please note that where an employee has been subject of a disciplinary action which results in a warning of any type then, according to the current operation of the PDS process, that employee cannot be considered for an increase in remuneration in the year the disciplinary action occurs”
It has now been suggested to NUPE to provide names of staff adversely impacted by the application of this policy of non- progression for warnings from July 2011. Although I believe it is actually CYF responsibility to identify this I have decided to put this out and ask members to E mail me back if non-movement on the salary scale because of a warning letter has been their experience.
Please e mail me back if you have had a non -movement up your salary scale because of a warning that you received during that assessment year. (2011/2012/1013) I will send any names I receive through to Head Office to look into. If you should have received a salary movement this will have to be back dated by CYF.
Janice has been really busy recently with disciplinary meetings for members across CYF.
We are sending out pocket cards to all members through delegates that will provide you some handy information on what to do if you are approached to attend a disciplinary meeting.
Janice has also been involved with a number of mediations for CYF members who have employment relationship problems. We have had a mixed amount of success for members.
Staff at NUPE:
NUPE has just appointed a new Organiser. Quentin Findlay was the successful applicant and he started on Monday. Quentin brings with him a lot of experience and passion for the role. It is fantastic to have him on board and I am very confident if he is involved with you that he will represent you and your issues and concerns well.
Lynda Boyd has been doing some casual hours for NUPE in Auckland but this will finish shortly as Lynda is heading overseas. We have really appreciated Lynda’s help.
We are really keen to keep growing in CYF so please encourage your colleagues to consider NUPE. I have attached a membership form.