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Final Recommendations Create Opportunity For Resolution - Fire And Emergency NZ

Fire and Emergency New Zealand recognises the mediator’s final recommendations as a key step towards settling a new collective agreement and rebuilding of trust and confidence with career firefighters and their union, Chief Executive Kerry Gregory says.

‘Our aim is for a collective agreement that’s fair for our professional firefighters, as well as being affordable and sustainable for Fire and Emergency so that our career firefighters can continue to serve our communities,’ he says.

‘I had hoped the firefighters’ union would have respected Mr Colgan’s recommendation that strike strategies should be held off while both parties work through the recommendations and focus on reaching settlement instead of escalating strike action and putting New Zealanders at risk.

‘I urge them to reconsider and put all their focus into this opportunity for us, our career firefighters and all involved to find a way forward and focus on our shared commitment to serving the community.

‘Our team is working hard to closely examine the mediator’s recommendations to understand what that would look like in practice. This will help us to understand where we can make progress when we meet next week with the firefighters’ union on Thursday 27 October,’ Kerry Gregory says.

‘Although it leaves us with a dilemma, I believe it’s helpful the mediator has verified through an independent financial advisor the significant challenge for Fire and Emergency to fund the current claims.

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‘Fire and Emergency can’t afford the total cost of the recommendations. We would be spending significantly more each year than we can generate from our current funding. This is an obvious challenge for both parties, however we are exploring all our options in this regard.

‘We’re not in a position to make more detailed comment before we have engaged with the union but it’s clear we will both have to make compromises to reach settlement.

‘I also acknowledge there’s been a lack of trust and confidence between us, but I’m determined to rebuild the relationship with the firefighters’ union for the benefit of all. I’ve said it before but moving forward together, is in everyone’s interest - not least the public.

‘We will be working constructively with the NZPFU in order to reach an agreement as soon as possible,’ Kerry Gregory says.

‘We are now wholly focused on the meeting on Thursday. In good faith and with finding a pathway to resolution in mind, we won’t be making further comment on the bargaining until after we’ve had the chance to work with NZPFU.’

You can find more information about bargaining here

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