Fire & Emergency New Zealand

Fire and Emergency seek ERA support to try and bring pay dispute and strike action to an end

Fire and Emergency seek ERA support to try and bring pay dispute and strike action to an end

Fire and Emergency NZ will once again answer all 111 for Fire calls during the career firefighters’ second full strike between 11am and 12pm tomorrow (Friday 26 August) and provide a response to fires in affected areas, says National Commander Russell Wood.

‘It is extremely disappointing and frustrating that the union has refused to join Fire and Emergency in its application for facilitated bargaining and has chosen instead to continue to organise strike action. This simply creates risk to the public in those areas covered by career firefighters and will not progress the bargaining’ he says.

‘As was the case last Friday, there will be significantly fewer firefighters in urban areas during the strike hour, so our responses in those urban areas may be delayed’ he says.

‘Volunteers in urban areas will continue to stand by and respond from their own stations in their own trucks to help as they do normally when there are multiple emergencies at one time.

‘We are likely not to respond to 111 calls where there is no evidence of a threat to life or property, such as alarm activations where there is no sign of fire, small rubbish fires, assisting traffic management and animal rescues.’

Russell Wood urged people in the affected areas to be extra vigilant on Friday during and around the strike hour.

‘Check your smoke alarms are working, make sure you have an evacuation plan from your house or place of work and take extra care. As always, we also ask people to only call 111 for Fire if there is a genuine emergency.

‘Again, as happened last Friday, St John and Wellington Free Ambulance will not be requesting fire crews to attend medical call outs in the strike affected urban areas during the strike hour,’ he says.

For more information about Friday’s strike visit our website. This also includes a map of fire station locations.


Facilitated Bargaining

Russell Wood says Fire and Emergency made the application for facilitated bargaining because it is the fastest way to bring this long and drawn out negotiation that is at an impasse to a conclusion.

‘It is the right thing to do for our people and our communities so that we can bring the bargaining to a resolution. So far, we have been unable to do that together even with mediated support,’ he says.

‘We’ve spent over a year in bargaining, including mediation with both MBIE and a private mediator, and while some progress was made the parties are still a long way apart. Mediation has effectively broken down and we’ve reached an impasse. We believe to return to mediation would cause unnecessary delays and will not bring the parties closer together.

‘We believe the responsible thing to do now is to put the bargaining in the hands of the Employment Relations Authority and ask an independent facilitator to make recommendations that are fair and reasonable for all parties.

‘We are committed to progressing this as swiftly as possible and call upon the NZPFU to now do the same, in the interests of our employees and communities,’ he says.

‘We genuinely believe our position is fair and reasonable, and the union thinks their position is too.

‘The independent facilitator will investigate all the evidence and make recommendations as to what a fair and reasonable settlement would be,’ he says.



Russell Wood says he is disappointed and dismayed at the level of misinformation being spread around about pay and conditions for firefighters.

‘We are in the middle of a prolonged and protracted industrial dispute. I understand people feel strongly about the issues, but the extreme, inaccurate and even alarmist language is not helping,’ he says.

‘Like any modern firefighting organisation, we want to do everything we can to support and protect our firefighters. They do a fantastic job and, when called upon, give their time to help others.

‘We have offered all career firefighters a pay increase of between 8 and 19% over two years as well as a $2000 lump sum. We have proposed other specific actions to address many of their other bargaining claims. However, some of these claims are based on misleading and inaccurate information, which is why we haven’t been able to agree on a way to address these claims within the bargaining.

For more information on Fire and Emergency’s current support to career firefighters, their pay and conditions and our offer to the NZPFU, visit our website.