The FISA Steering Group and Board have suspended FISA’s engagement with Forestry Contracting Association (FCA). The FCA will not be directly represented on the FISA Steering Group until further notice.
Since the inception of FISA over 4 years ago, the Forest Industry has successfully ‘come together’ to implement a Safety Accord for the purpose of making essential Health & Safety improvements across our industry.
Commitment from industry players to the Accord has been excellent and we now have over 680 members. FISA has worked hand-in glove with HSE to do it’s best to establish an organisation which will, over a realistic period of time, deliver the objectives of the Accord.
However, the adoption of a set of Articles of Association and Rules (which regulate the way that the organisation operates, the representation and election of both Directors and Steering Group members) has been dogged by the uncooperative behaviour by representatives of the FCA which has been the only organisation which has impeded the progress of FISA on a sustained basis.
These Articles and Rules were prepared by an FISA sub group which included a representative of the FCA, the group took expert legal advice and presented them to the FISA Steering Group throughout the process, the Steering Group recommended their adoption.
Since that time representatives of the FCA have sought to frustrate the formal adoption of those Rules and Articles which has absorbed huge amounts of time for the FISA Board and Steering Group. This has a significant cost but more importantly has diverted effort from the purpose of FISA to improve safety on forestry.
On 14th September, by majority vote, the Steering Group (10 in favour, 1 abstension & 1 against) and the Directors (3 in favour 1 against) decided that future engagement with the FCA was counter-productive to the advancement of the objectives of the Accord and that engagement with the FCA should therefore be suspended. The HSE are aware of this position and have not objected.
This is not new behaviour by representatives of the FCA, from inception the relationship between FCA representatives and FISA has been troubled. In early 2013, following a vote, Donald Maclean, Chairman of FCA, was asked to leave the Steering Group due to his rude and disruptive behaviour which was frustrating the objectives of the Accord.
Further effort continued to re-build bridges with FCA. However FCA representatives remained negative, argumentative and unsupportive. The FCA have used their Facebook page to influence their members with negative comments and disinformation about FISA without justification, another example of the FCA undermining the objectives of the Accord. The door, however, remains open should FCA wish to reconsider their position regarding support for FISA.
FISA continues with the normal process of increasing Contractor engagement, both on the Steering Group and within the Working Groups. The Working Groups are making excellent progress, providing practical solutions to improve safety.