Firefighters’ union escalates strike action despite 8% -19 % new pay offer increase

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Firefighters’ union escalates strike action despite 8% -19 % new pay offer increase

Fire and Emergency Deputy National Commander Brendan Nally says it is disappointing the New Zealand Professional Firefighters’ Union has given notice of escalated strike action, despite a substantial new pay offer which would see base salaries for all firefighters increase by between 8 and 19 per cent over the next two years.

Normal pay progression, in addition to the general pay rises above, will also continue.

"The NZPFU has notified us their members will withdraw all labour for an hour between 11am and 12 pm on two different days - on 19 August and 26 August. They have also indicated they wish to return to mediation but are yet to provide a counter position," Brendan Nally says.

The strike action includes all career fire stations, training centres and 111 fire communications centres.

"Fire and Emergency has demonstrated it is fully committed to trying to reach a settlement with the union. After over 13 months of negotiations, involving 29 days of bargaining and three days of mediation, the union has not significantly moved from its original position," he says.

"The NZPFU is still seeking total increases across both pay and allowances of more than 40 per cent for most firefighters.

"Our new offer is substantially more than our previous offer and reflects our strong desire to reach settlement," Brendan Nally says. "It is disappointing the union responded by escalating their strike action."

"During the one-hour full strikes we will continue to respond to emergencies. Within areas served primarily by career firefighters, response may be with fewer firefighters than usual, and response may be delayed. 

"For the rest of the country, volunteers from our 596 fire stations nationally will respond to emergencies as they do now and provide the services they are trained to do," he says.

"I urge people to be vigilant for the duration of the two full fire station and 111 communication centre strikes. 

"Visit https://www.fireandemergency.nz/home-and-community-fire-safety/ for information about the things you can do to reduce the risk of fire in your home and community.

"There are also things you can do to help us respond to emergencies quickly during these periods; don't call 111 unless it is a genuine emergency. 

As always, if there is a fire, get out of the house immediately and dial 111. Don't go back in. Wait for Fire and Emergency."