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Fishery Officers Settle: Defense Eq'pt Outstanding

Sunday 3 July 2005

Fishery Officers Settle - Defensive Equipment Outstanding

“Fishery Officers have voted to settle a new 2 year Collective Employment Agreement (CEA) in conjunction with accepting an offer of a fair and long overdue pay increase,” Martin Cooney, organiser with the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) said today. “However the matter of whether they can carry defensive equipment remains unsettled.”

He was commenting on the settlement of the CEA dispute almost two and a half years after the expiry of the last CEA in February 2003. “Mediation following the first strike action by Fishery Officers in 25 years during 2004 made sufficient progress so as to settle the issues with the Ministry negotiators.”

“The new rates reflect the increased skills and capability of the Fishery Officers especially in dealing with poachers, commercial operators and others who have become more sophisticated in finding ways to break the law,” said Martin Cooney. “The new pay rates offer a reasonable immediate gain in conjunction with fairer scales that are about 20% higher than before, reflecting just how under paid Fishery Officers were previously.”

“As part of the settlement the Fishery Officers removed their claim for defensive equipment as an entitlement in the CEA,” said Martin Cooney. “Fishery Officers were forced to recognise that this matter was being dealt with politically by the Government, and therefore the way to progress the right to carry defensive equipment was via the political process.“

“The Ministry has agreed to engage an independent auditor to assess the Ministry’s compliance with legal health and safety requirements and OSH standards,” said Martin Cooney. “Fishery Officers recognise that the Ministry can only do so much and it is now up to the politicians to make a call. In the run-up the election Fishery Officers are asking them to do so.“


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