As advised in Newsletter No.35 – 24 September 2009, and as a consequence of the refusal of the Fire Service to bargain, the Union had filed an urgent application with the Employment Relations Authority seeking an order requiring the Fire Service to bargain.

Because of this, and the Union’s continual filing of Notices of Strike, both the Union and the Fire Service attended mediation yesterday.

That mediation resulted in a settlement as follows:

  1. The parties agree to resume collective bargaining this afternoon and commit to resumption of those talks on Thursday 1 October 2009.

  2. N.Z.P.F.U. will suspend the current strike action from 0800 hours tomorrow Wednesday 30 September 2009 until 0800 on Monday 5 October 2009.

  3. The parties agree to synchronise notices of this suspension to their respective constituents to this evening.

  4. N.Z.P.F.U. also agrees that if as a result of collective bargaining, they decide to recommend the N.Z.F.S. offer, then suspension of the strike will continue until the ratification process is complete.

  5. N.Z.P.F.U accepts that no fresh strike notice will be issued whilst the parties are in active bargaining (this may occur after Thursday 1 October 2009 on the current schedule but may be varied by agreement. Each party may determine when active bargaining ceases).

  6. The parties agree that the current claim before the ERA shall be withdrawn with costs to lie where they fall.

As a consequence, bargaining did resume yesterday afternoon (while the strike was occurring) and will recommence on Thursday (when the strike will be suspended).

This situation is exactly what the Union intended with the scheduled bargaining last week and the Union is pleased the Fire service has now accepted the Union’s position.

However, the continuation of the suspension of strike action past 0800 hours on Monday 5 October and the not issuing of further notices of strike is absolutely dependent on the continuation of active bargaining or the reaching of a settlement proposal that can be recommended for ratification. The bargaining tomorrow therefore will be very important in determining progress.

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