MPs vote to impose deal on firefighters

Fire
service union leaders meet today to discuss further strike action after the
House of Commons voted to impose a 16 pay per cent increase and modernisation
of the service.

Only
22 MPs voted against the Local Government Bill, giving the government the power
to enforce changes on the fire service.

If
passed, the Bill, which has still to be debated in the House of Lords, would
give deputy prime minister John Prescott full control of the fire service.

The
move would allow Prescott to force through the Government’s modernisation
agenda, including setting wages, shift patterns, redundancies, closing fire
stations and making strikes illegal.

The
Fire Brigades’ Union is recommending that its members reject the employers’ 16
per cent pay offer over three years – increasing pay to a minimum of £25,000 a
year – at an FBU conference next week.

Tomorrow
1,000 firefighters are to lobby Parliament for a larger pay increase.

By Paul Nelson

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