This afternoon the NZPFU issued the attached notices of escalated strike action.

FENZ is now on notice that all NZPFU members covered by the bargaining will stop work for one hour from 1100 hours to 12 noon on Friday the 19th August, and will stop work for one hour from 1100 hours to 12 noon on the 26th August 2022.

The negotiations for a collective agreement commenced on the 28th June 2021 and 13 months later little progress has been made.

In June 2022 the Parties agreed to an independent mediator and an agreed process took place during July 2022.  The NZPFU notified FENZ that it would make a decision on further industrial action at 3pm today and at 2.53pm FENZ sent through the attached revised offer.  

The NZPFU National Committee of Management considered the revised offer this afternoon and unanimously voted to reject it.

The NZPFU has requested that mediation be set down for Wednesday and Thursday next week.

FENZ’S OFFER

The attached offer includes the same wage increases the NZPFU rejected last week. 

  • We attach an analysis of the 4 August 2022 offer.
  • We attach a schedule of the wage offer on firefighter salaries.
  • FENZ’s offer means no one would get a base rate increase from 1 July 2021 (when the agreement expired) but merges FENZ’s proposed 2021 rate into a combined 2021/2022 rate to apply from 1 July 2022.  FENZ has offered to pay a lump sum of $2000 gross in lieu of a 2021 base wage increase. 
  • The 15.1% offer for a trainee firefighter (44 in total last year for a 12-week training course) takes the trainee wage from $21.27 to $24.48 an hour from 1 July 2022.  The NZ Living Wage from September is $23.65.  These trainees are not school-leavers. Most either have a trade or university degree and have been in other employment.  Recent recruits report taking salary cuts of $50,000 to train as a firefighter.
  • The 11% offer for a firefighter increases their wages from $22.58 an hour to $25.06 an hour.  They have to have two years continuous service as a firefighter and trainee firefighter and successfully complete the Qualified Firefighter Programme before they reach the rank of Qualified Firefighter.
  • Under this offer a Qualified firefighter (who has had two years as a firefighters) would receive a 5.5 percent pay increase from 1 July 2022 – the only pay increase since 1 July 2020.  That increase includes only a 3.5% pay increase for the 2022 year.
  • Under this offer a SSO gets 4% of which 2.5% is for the 2022 year.
  • Other recent pay deals in other industries have reported 6-8% pay increases for the 2022 year.

FENZ has not included any financial recognition for medical response.

  • The 2018 record of settlement recorded that the remuneration system and job sizing system did not include recognition for medical response.  That issue was supposed to be dealt with during the term of the agreement that expired on 30 June 2021.  Nothing was done and this offer does not include any financial recognition of the added training, skills and impact of medical response.
  • FENZ firefighters respond to 96% of all of St John’s out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.

FENZ continues to attack consultation and dispute rights

  • FENZ is still attempting to limit the circumstances requiring consultation and to limit the situations where the Union can raise a dispute where FENZ has failed to appropriately consult.

FENZ does not include any provision to assist firefighters and NZPFU members to access income protection insurance despite automatically insuring any administrative and non-operational employees.

FENZ continues to ignore its own 2019 report that demonstrated recruitment and retention issues in Auckland need to be addressed including recognition that those living and working in Auckland have approximately $10,000 less discretionary income than their direct counterparts in other large metro areas.

FENZ does agree to commit to 4 recruit courses (no guarantee in recruit numbers) in the 2022/2023 financial year but there is no guarantee outdated staff ratio issues will be addressed or that any planning will be undertaken to address the changes in New Zealand’s risk and response areas since the 1990s.  

FENZ has made some commitments to physical and mental health programmes but only on the basis that the NZPFU agrees to a health standards process without any information on what that would include, look like or how it would be used to terminate employment. 

The NZPFU will provide detailed analysis of the offer to members in due course.

The NZPFU has scheduled a video conference with all Local representatives tomorrow to discuss the strike action and FENZ’s offer.

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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