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Response to Ministry of Fisheries Media Advisory

Friday 2 July 2004

Response to Ministry of Fisheries Media Advisory

“The matter of defensive equipment is a part of the Fishery Officers’ Collective Employment Agreement negotiations because NUPE has tabled a claim for a new clause in the negotiations to replace the agreement which expired on 1 February 2003,” said Martin Cooney, organiser with the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today. He was responding to a media advisory put out by MFish today which claimed the issue was not part of the negotiations.

“Our claim is for a new clause 11.8 (i). That claim is for Sufficient defensive equipment (ie retractable batons and pepper spray) shall be made available to employees who believe on reasonable grounds that their safety could be threatened,” said Martin Cooney. “The Union acknowledges that a law change would be needed before Fishery Officers can carry pepper spray.”

“The proposed work to rule next week is for two main related issues,” said Martin Cooney. “Given the significant extra duties, responsibilities and risks asked of Fishery Officers since 1996, the Ministry must reflect those changes in their remuneration and also reduce the risks via the provision of defensive capability.”

“The Ministry of Fisheries will excuse Fishery Officers for holding their breath over the promised announcement in ten days time – 12 July,” said Martin Cooney. “This will be at least the fourth such promise since October 2002 they have had of a paper going to the Minister.”

“Fishery Officers have considered the statement from the Ministry but are proceeding with their work to rule next week to highlight to the community the issues they face.”

ENDS

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