President’s Report April 2020
It has been a bit of an unusual start to the year with the covid-19 outbreak constantly in the news and with the announcement this week of the World Health Organisation’s declaration of a pandemic. On the Technician front, it seems that we have all had quite a busy start to our year with Senior practical internal assessments starting early.
The start of this year has been quite challenging for me personally with health, family and work issues taking up a lot of my attention and leaving me with little time to work on STANZ projects. I am hopeful that these challenges will be easing off as the year progresses and I can get back on track. I would like to thank Monique and Jane in particular for their support during this time.
As announced on scitech talk a couple of weeks ago, progress has been made on the new Safety and Science document which will replace our now obsolete Code of Practice and Guidance to the Code of Practice. The document has been sent back to the writing team for editing and will then need to go back to the legal teams at WorkSafe and the Ministry of Education for approval before being submitted for final sign off. Progress is slow but at least there is some progression happening.
I am hopeful that our meeting with the NZEI lead on the Pay Equity Claims for Support Staff will give us some insight into the procedures involved in our future claim. The Teacher Aids’ claim outcome should be made public very soon and we can only hope that this will have a positive effect on our own claim. I would like to include a push for improvements in our working conditions from a Health and Safety standpoint in our claim as I am aware of many of our members who still work in unsafe conditions every day with no dangerous goods cabinets, no active ventilation etc.
I have been in discussion with WorkSafe regarding some changes they have made to the definition of a laboratory, which I will discuss in further detail at our meeting.
As next year is conference year and thus election year, I would like everyone on the Executive Committee to start actively encouraging fellow Science Technicians to stand for election next year. It was encouraging that we had enough applicants to run an actual election last year and I would like to see a repeat of that next year, with particular emphasis on South Island Technicians and Technicians from Northland if we can manage it. I would really like to see these areas better represented.
Planning seems to be well underway for ConSTANZ21 with the notification from the Conference Committee’s Secretary of the date and venue for next year’s conference.
I know that we had a confusing start to this year with the change in our AGM cycle and Loomio issues but hopefully this will not be repeated. Thank you to everyone on the Committee for their patience as we worked through this.