Negotiations continued with mediation on the 21st July as was directed by the courts. The employer although adamant in its claim to the employment court on the 11th July, that they could not resume negotiation at that time because it was imperative that they assembled their full bargaining team, attended with two of their team absent.
The employer had nothing further to offer than they had on the 30th June. The matter of the “Flexible Roster” was discussed and they stated that they no longer had that on their claims. There was some confusion on this matter as the last offer that was given to the union bargaining team on the 30th June, was different to the one that was posted on FireNet for everyone in the fire service to see.
The unions understanding on the 30th June was that although the flexible roster was out of the formal offer the employer still wanted that as a separate item outside of the CEA. This is now no longer the employers claim. Clearly this is a great victory for all Union members and shows that by standing strong and together against the employer we have the strength needed.
The union has changed its offer in regard to the negotiations’. Members will be aware of the changing economic forecasts for New Zealand. In December 2010 when we started this round of negotiations, the projected inflation was 2.75%. At that time we asked for an increase in wages and allowances of 3.75%. This would have bought the base hourly rate of a firefighter up to the Minimum Adult Hourly Rate as set by the Government. The union thought that this was a fair and reasonable amount giving regard to the economic climate of the time.
Now we know the inflation rate is 5.3%. Interest rates are predicted to rise within the next three to four months; this will mean higher mortgage repayments for many of our members. The general cost of living has risen sharply recently and there is no reason to expect that to slow down or reverse.
To that end the union has revised its claim as detailed below.
At about midday the employer stated that there was no point in continuing negotiations at this time and broke off the mediated negotiations.
The union has also filed notice of industrial action today. Industrial action notices are produced below.