Fire service, union to re-engage bargaining amid strikes

Source: 1News

Striking firefighters and Fire and Emergency NZ are working to re-engage collective bargaining amid ongoing industrial action.

Fire truck.

Firefighters across the nation, led by the NZ Professional Firefighters’ Union (NZPFU), have refused to carry out some administrative tasks since June 12.

Processes to "re-engage constructively" are now underway, NZPFU and Fire and Emergency said in a joint statement.

“A mutually agreed third party will be engaged to support and assist this re-engagement.”

The union, representing nearly 2000 members, has been bargaining with Fire and Emergency for over a year - a process described as being at a stalemate.

READ MORE: Pro firefighters' union weeks away from walking off the job

Strike action came after 96% of union members rejected the latest pay offer.

The offer meant just over half of union members would only receive a guaranteed 1.5 to 2% pay increase, their first since July 2020.

Low pay, frequent overtime, poor quality equipment, and a lack of appropriate training were also contributing factors to strike action, the union has said.

The Minister responsible for Fire and Emergency NZ Jan Tinetti says the 2017 amalgamation that created the entity has played "a big part" in the standoff between it and NZPFU.

The joint statement said that although the strike is ongoing, “this will not impact our career firefighters’ ability to respond to emergency incidents.”

Both organisations have said they will not be providing further comment on the bargaining process, but “further updates will be provided in due course.”