Government action solves firefighter’s dispute

Minister of Internal Affairs, Jan Tinetti is welcoming today’s announcement from the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union that union members have voted to accept the settlement for a new collective employment agreement.

“The Government provided Fire and Emergency New Zealand with additional financial support so that a better offer could be put forward to firefighters. This was a turning point in the negotiations and ended over 18 months of talks and strike action,” Jan Tinetti said.

“The $75.4 million we provided to Fire and Emergency New Zealand is a repayable capital injection loan. It meant they could provide an offer which was acceptable to firefighters, ensure the services that we all value could continue and that they got the increase to pay we know they deserve. 

For Senior Professional firefighters this means that they will now be paid on average $82,699.89. This is an increase from what FENZ previously offered of $75,017. A 10.24% increase as direct result of the Government getting involved.

“Within the constraints of my role as Minister, I worked actively with the firefighters union and Fire and Emergency New Zealand to get to a successful resolution, including bringing the parties together to meet with me in the Beehive to assist in finding a way forward. It was a more active role than I had anticipated needing to play but it was necessary to ensure we could resolve the bargaining.

“What has become apparent is that when the National Government created the crown agency Fire and Emergency New Zealand in 2017 there were major shortcomings with the level of funding. The independent Colgan Report provides clarity on the extent of that underfunding.

“As a Government we are committed to ensuring those who serve the public are compensated fairly for what they do and are a valued part of the workforce. Firefighters put their bodies and lives on the line for New Zealanders every day. 

“I have huge respect for the work that our firefighters do which is why I have taken action to ensure New Zealanders know that if they need the expertise of our firefighters they will be there. I thank our firefighters for the critically important work they do every day,” Jan Tinetti said.