Fire crews offered cash to avert strike action

Fire crews in South Yorkshire are being offered payments of £1,500 to stop strike action, the BBC reports.

Fire Brigades Union members – unhappy about plans to force them to work 12-hour day and night shifts, instead of the current nine-hour days and 15-hour nights – voted in favour of industrial action on Wednesday.

The fire service hopes the financial incentive will encourage crews to agree changes in their shift pattern and enable the dispute to be settled without a strike. It says the “minor change” to shift times will increase productivity and available training time for firefighters, making them and the public safer.

The union said it would consider the offer but an alternative proposal it put forward for 10-hour day shifts and 14-hour night shifts was the preferred option.

Deputy chief fire officer Steve Swarbrick said: “The ball is now in the FBU’s court, and I urge them for everyone’s sake to call off this strike and come to an agreement as soon as possible.”

The FBU said it was consulting its members on the fire service’s offer. But regional secretary Ian Murray said crews remained “totally opposed” to working 12-hour days and nights.

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