Firefighters announce new strike dates

The Fire
Brigades Union has announced two further 48-hour strikes next year over its 40
per cent pay claim.

The union
claims that the new dates – 28 January and 1 February – give "a genuine
window of opportunity to allow for further detailed talks at ACAS".

Talks at
conciliation body Acas between the union, the employers and the government are
planned in the first full week of the New Year to try and resolve the dispute,
which has lasted over four months.

The union
has so far refused to co-operate with the findings of an independent inquiry in
to fire service pay by Sir George Bain that finds any pay increase above 4 per
cent must be linked to more efficient working practices.

These
include allowing the use of overtime, changes to shift patterns and paramedic
training for firefighters.

FBU general
secretary Andy Gilchrist said: “I’m sure the public understand our continued
willingness to do what we can to reach agreement. We are prepared to talk and
talk again as we have been for several months.

“Fire service
employers’ now have several weeks to put together a serious pay offer. There
will be ample time in January to conduct detailed and intensive talks to help
resolve this dispute without the need for further strikes.

“But no one
should doubt our resolve to ensure fair pay for firefighters and emergency fire
control staff. No one should think for one second that a willingness to talk is
a signal that our determination is waning. It is not.”

By Paul
Nelson

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