Firefighters to vote over strike action

The
Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is to ballot for strike action after talks to end a
long-running pay dispute broke down without agreement.

Union
leaders had been meeting local authority employers to try to break the
deadlock. But they failed to reach a deal to settle what they say is a 3.5 per
cent pay rise outstanding since November, and a further 4.2 per cent owed since
1 July.

The
dispute flared up following a hitch to the agreement that ended a series of
strikes in 2002 and 2003.

A
deadlock over ‘stand-down time’ during night shifts was broken during
negotiations last Thursday. That related to whether firefighters should have to
undertake training or other duties while waiting for a call out.

But
now the prospect of a fresh round of firefighter strikes is on the horizon.

By Mike Berry

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