INDEPENDENT NEWS

Public will pick up $8m bill for Fire Service pay

Published: Mon 26 Mar 2001 08:56 AM
Lindsay Tisch National Internal Affairs Spokesperson
24 March 2001
Public will pick up $8m bill for Fire Service pay offer
The proposed pay deal for professional firefighters will impose an $8 million penalty on New Zealanders who insure their property, National's Internal Affairs spokesman Lindsay Tisch said today.
The Fire Service is offering a pay rise of up to 9.5 percent, backdated at least five months, with another 2 percent pay rise in the second year.
"The vast majority of firefighting in this country is done by the 11,000 volunteer fire fighters, who will see none of this money and in all likelihood will get reduced resources to help cover this cost. The ones who will profit from this deal are the 1,500 members of the Professional Firefighters Union.
"The professional arm of the Fire Service has no recruitment or retention problems because firefighters are already getting a good deal. Professional firefighters are already on an easy wicket, actively working just 17 hours a week. This big pay increase will make being a paid firefighter even more of a rort. "Will this deal do anything to save lives or prevent fires? No it won't. People who insure their property will feel justifiably unhappy if they end up paying more fire service levy on their insurance but get no improvement in the protection offered to them by the fire service.
"It is especially ironic that this pay offer is being made at a time when the Government is telling everyone they need to accept a lower standard of living because big pay rises would create too much inflation. Against that background the current offer simply doesn't make sense," Lindsay Tisch said.
Ends

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