4 Nov 2022

Firefighters' union calls off first of strikes as talks continue

2:09 pm on 4 November 2022
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Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

Firefighters have called off the first of four planned one-hour strikes as negotiations on a collective agreement continue.

The New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union (NZPFU) had announced strike action between 11am and midday on four days in November, starting today, but said if talks progressed those strikes could be cancelled.

In a statement the union said there had been movement over the previous 24 hours with the government putting up a proposal that would assist with settlement.

But it said Fire and Emergency (FENZ) still had to "front up and change its position" as the government proposal alone would not settle systemic issues including staffing, safe systems of work, health and wellness and low wages.

FENZ chief executive Kerry Gregory said he was pleased that discussions regarding a new offer for settlement of the collective agreement were continuing.

"This is a very positive development and we thank the NZPFU leadership for agreeing not to strike while we work through this together," he said in a statement.

"Fire and Emergency remains committed to exploring all the options available to reach settlement and I am confident this latest development represents considerable progress to reach a resolution after a lengthy process."

Minister for Internal Affairs Jan Tinetti said she wouldn't reveal the specifics of the additional support offered to firefighters so it doesn't compromise negotiations.

The government has been concerned about the safety of New Zealanders and offered additional financial support to Fire and Emergency to get the deal over the line, Tinette told Midday Report.

The next strike action was planned between 11am and midday on 7, 11 and 14 November.

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