The mediation between the NZPFU and FENZ bombed last week with FENZ refusing to discuss any issue other than remuneration.
This was the first meeting since 99% of NZPFU members across nationwide membership meetings rejected FENZ’s 8 April 2022 offer. FENZ did not appear to understand the significance of that rejection as the FENZ representatives arrived with an intractable position that it would only engage in discussions if the NZPFU reduced its wages and allowances claims and even then would only discuss remuneration. FENZ refused to answer whether it had any enhanced position but still expected the NZPFU to lower or drop its claims in that context.
Both parties were not prepared to move on the remuneration issue.
The NZPFU did not want to waste the opportunity to make some progress so asked FENZ to discuss other important issues and proposed starting with staffing ratios and recognition of firefighters with occupational cancers. We were hopeful that we could make some progress and resolve these issues at least given FENZ has agreed the staffing ratios are not high enough and in the past has repeatedly publicly stated its recognition of firefighters’ occupational cancer.
FENZ was intractable in its refusal to discuss anything other than remuneration and only then if the NZPFU reduced its wage and allowances claims.
FENZ’s ultimatum was obstructive and contrary to the requirements to bargain in good faith. In accordance with the Employment Relations Act to bargain in good faith includes that where the parties have come to a standstill on an issue they must continue to bargain in good faith on other matters they are yet to reach agreement.
The NZPFU requested further mediation meetings be set down this week in the hope that some matters could be resolved. FENZ refused again stating it would not be meeting or discussing any issues until it had received a revised remuneration proposal from the NZPFU.
At this stage there are no further scheduled negotiation or mediation meetings.