Thursday, April 25, 2024

Firefighters signal new pay settlement

Minister of Internal Affairs, Jan Tinetti, has welcomed the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union announcement today that members have voted to accept 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,” said Minister Tinetti.

“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.”

Senior Professional firefighters will now be paid on average $82,699.89 – a 10.24% increase from what FENZ previously offered of $75,017.

“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,” said Ms Tinetti.

“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,” she said.

Fire and Emergency NZ Chief Executive, Kerry Gregory said the ratification of a new collective employment agreement was a significant step forward.

“We are pleased that, with Government support, we have been able to reach an agreement which recognises and values our firefighters,” he says.

“Our aim has always been to do right by our people, while ensuring the sustainability of Fire and Emergency for all New Zealanders.

“I want to acknowledge and thank everyone involved and impacted for their patience as we worked through this lengthy and challenging process alongside the NZPFU.

“I am optimistic the ratification of this agreement signals a step forward in rebuilding relationships,” said Mr Gregory.

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