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Gillon Welcomes Dampening of Industrial Sparks

Media Release 28 June 2001

For immediate release

Gillon Welcomes Dampening of Industrial Sparks

Alliance MP and former firefighter Grant Gillon is pleased that the long running Fire Service dispute has been resolved. "The end of this dispute will no doubt do a great deal for the morale of our firefighters, and good morale can only be good for public safety" said Grant Gillon.

"I am delighted that the firefighters have secured a successful wage offer and that New Zealand can once again look forward to a world class Fire Service".

"It has taken 10 years, a change of government and a new Fire Service Commission to reach this point. It is yet another success of the environment created by the Labour-Alliance Government."

"This is not just an end to an industrial dispute, it is the end of an awful era in appalling industrial relations" said Mr Gillon.

"It is clear that the dispute could not, and would not have been resolved by the previous Government. Firefighters were constantly threatened with mass layoffs and cuts to their working conditions. The Fire Service Commission was subject to continual budget cuts and erosion of its funding base. This was simply not an environment where the principles of good faith bargaining could apply."

"It is hardly surprising that an agreement could not be reached given the union-busting, pro-privatisation agenda of the previous government"

"This dispute has taken a huge toll on firefighters and their families. Along with the continual threats to their jobs, an effective wage freeze has meant that firefighters have had to shoulder 10 years of increases in the cost of living".

"The Alliance believes we need to support essential services and ensure that they are well resourced" said Grant Gillon.

During his first term as an MP Grant Gillon led the campaign against the cuts to the Fire Service and exposed many irregularities in the funding of the Fire Service Commission.

"This is a good day for the Fire Service, firefighters and a good day for New Zealand. Now New Zealanders can look forward to the world class fire service they expect and deserve" Grant Gillon said.

ENDS

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