Late yesterday (16.30 hours) the Fire Service informed the Union that they had cancelled negotiations arranged for today.

Members will recall (Newsletter No.32 - 18 September) that in a gesture of goodwill and to facilitate bargaining, the Union had suspended all strike action from 1800 hours 22 September until further notice.

This had the effect of withdrawing the strike action currently underway and due to expire at 0800 hours on 24 September. Strike action notified to take effect from 24 September and 1 October were still in effect but suspended.

The Fire Service insisted that all strike action be withdrawn.

This would have meant that if the negotiations were not productive, further strike action would require new Notices and could not commence for at least 14 days. This is clearly unacceptable and the Fire Service’s insistence on complete withdrawal casts real doubt on their genuineness in resuming negotiations in good faith.

The suspension of strike action is consequently cancelled.

All action therefore resumes forthwith.

The National Committee are exploring a number of options to pursue a fair and reasonable settlement.

However, the refusal of the Fire Service’s bargaining team to meet when no strike action is occurring is an extraordinary position for them to adopt and at best demonstrates a real lack of understanding of the present situation. Taken alongside the letter to the Herald from Larry Cocker, Area Manager, Counties Manukau and a member of the Fire Service’s bargaining team, the Union sees the Fire Service as acting in a very naïve and unprofessional manner.

The Union has just been made aware of the e-mail from Mike Hall to all staff.

The Union will consider this in more detail and consider whether the agreed bargaining process has been complied with.

However, at first sight, the Union finds some of Mike Hall’s statements at considerable variance with the recollections of the Union’s Bargaining Team, who were of course present at the negotiations. Full details of all offers made by the Fire Service have been detailed in previous Union Newsletters.

Members will be updated as any new developments occur.

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