Firefighters set to strike across UK over recruitment policy

A
strike by firefighters in Merseyside over new recruitment plans is set to
spread across the UK.

The
Fire Brigades Union has announced it is days away from a countrywide walkout
over the policy, which would lead to direct entry for hundreds of managers who
have no experience in the fire service.

Firemen
from the Merseyside Fire Authority have already been on strike for eight days
over proposals to promote two women who have no practical experience to the
rank of assistant divisional officer.

The
FBU is to write to the chairman of the National Joint Council – the fire
service’s employer-employee forum – asking for acknowledgement that the
Merseyside Fire Authority has acted unreasonably in its dispute with the crews.

If
the FBU does not receive a favourable response then a meeting will be held in
Liverpool on August 3 to call for national industrial action to support the
Merseyside fire crews.

FBU members, led by general secretary Andy
Gilchrist, claim that the new policies are motivated by nothing more than a
need to meet Home Office racial and sexual equality targets and bear little relevance
to the needs of the service.

By Robert De La Poer

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