Firefighters' union set for two hour-long strikes this month

Source: Radio New Zealand

Career firefighters plan to walk off the job twice this month to protest understaffing and low wages.

Auckland Central Fire Station (file picture).

Professional Fire Fighters' Union has told Fire and Emergency New Zealand its members will strike for one hour on 19 August and again on 26 August.

The union has asked to meet with FENZ next week to try to reach a resolution and settle the bargaining.

READ MORE: Complaints to Fire and Emergency NZ triple in recent years

The union's national secretary, Wattie Watson, said members wanted enforceable protections to ensure they were appropriately staffed and resourced to protect the community.

The decision to strike had not been taken lightly but reflected the gravity of the situation, she said.

Fire and Emergency deputy national commander Brendan Nally said it was disappointed the union had given notice of strike action.

It came despite a substantial new pay offer which would see base salaries for all firefighters increase by between 8% and 19% over the next two years, he said.

FENZ would continue to respond to emergencies during the strike, but there may be longer wait times in some areas, he said.