Firefighters on brink of new walkout

The
Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is threatening fresh strike action over its ongoing
pay row.

Firefighters
will hold a vote on the issue at the end of July unless the current deadlock is
broken.

The
union has accused employers of reneging on a deal that would have seen a 3.5
per cent pay rise backdated to November and a possible 4.2 per cent increase
from July.

Assistant
general secretary Mike Fordham said: "Employers have been dishonourable
and totally distrustful and their attitude is an absolute disgrace."

He
said his union had kept its side of the bargain and branded as
"theft" the decision not to implement the pay rise.

A
spokesman for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister told BBC News Online
there was "no justification" for strike action.

And
Christine Jebb, who chairs the employers’ side, said: "It remains unclear
exactly what the stumbling block is. We were so close to reaching a deal and
firefighters must be questioning how we can move from near agreement to a
ballot for industrial action."

Employers
leaders are due to meet on Thursday and again next week and a fresh bid to
break the deadlock is expected before the FBU ballots for further industrial
action.

By
Mike Berry

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