NZPFU members turned out in force across the country to vote to accept the proposed settlement of the 2021-2024 collective agreement as recommended by the Union’s National Committee.
There was high turnout at the 26 meetings ratification meetings from Whangarei to Invercargill over the past 10 days.
The vote was counted at the NZPFU offices this afternoon recording 97.7% voted for the agreement.
The ratification of the agreement brings an 18 month dispute to a close.
“This agreement will change lives and save lives with pay increases between 20-24% and blood screening for firefighters’ occupational cancers.”
“This settlement could not have been reached without the support of the Government which included a financial structure for $100 million of the $145 million settlement. Minister Jan Tinetti was actively involved in getting the parties back to the table including facilitating the Graeme Colgan report which found firefighters’ were significantly underpaid when compared with other FENZ staff and other external firefighting roles. Members had previously rejected two insulting offers by FENZ which did not address the significantly low wages of our membership and failed to appropriately address health, safety and wellbeing claims. FENZ spent 18 months stalling and denying the fire crisis. If the Government hadn’t stepped in we would still be in dispute. This settlement will be remembered as one of the pivotal moments for the NZPFU and will have a positive impact for our members today but also our members of the future.”
“We thank the public for their support over the dispute which included NZPFU members walking off the job twice in August. The support for our campaign was incredible with members of the public joining the picket lines, and dropping off food and treats at fire stations”.
“We also acknowledge the support from other political parties and in particular Greens Jan Logie and Chloe Swarbrick who visited almost all career fire stations stations to understand the issues behind the Fire Crisis including the failing fire appliances and understaff stations being kept open by professional career firefighters working excessive hours – some working regularly more than a 100 hours to maintain the protection of the community.”
A snapshot of some of the highlights of the recommended settlement are:
- Life-saving blood screening for the early detection of firefighters’ occupational cancer and other illness
- Medical response recognition for Firefighters and Dispatchers
- Psychological support and supervision programme for Firefighters and Dispatchers
- Financial assistance for all members to access Income Protection and Life Insurance
- Safe Systems of Work progress with NZPFU with equal representation as FENZ on working parties to recommend appliances (type, numbers and location), staffing (levels and location) and equipment (boots and helmets including trial protocols)
- Significant cumulative wage increases up to 24%, and backdating to 2021
- 22% cumulative increase to allowances, and backdating to 2021
- $1500 sign-on bonus to be paid Christmas week (if ratified)
- Recognition of the increased costs of living and working in Auckland with an additional one-off payment for Auckland members, and ongoing annual Auckland Shift Worker allowance to recognise the Auckland Taskforce report that demonstrated the financial disadvantages of working in the region.
- Long-notice retirement benefit