Firefighters on standby for end to pay dispute

A
deal to end the firefighters’ dispute is expected to be signed today, after
talks late last week between union leaders and employers broke the deadlock
over pay.

The
Fire Brigades Union (FBU) had threatened a ballot for industrial action if the
row was not resolved by Saturday.

The
dispute flared up following a hitch to the agreement that ended a series of
strikes in 2002 and 2003. But a deal is now expected to free up a 3.5 per cent
rise that has been outstanding since November and a further 4.2 per cent owed
since 1 July.

The
union and employers reached an agreement on the issue of ‘stand-down time’
during night shifts with talks at the TUC headquarters

That
related to whether firefighters should have to undertake training or other
duties while waiting for a call out.

A
deal can now be signed as soon as disciplinary and grievance procedures are
finalised. A senior FBU source said: "There has been excellent progress,
and we are now five days away from securing an agreement."

By Mike Berry

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