The threat of strike action by firefighters receded today when union leaders accepted a compromise deal over night duties.
Firefighters around the country will be consulted on the new agreement before the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) executive meets to consider endorsing it next Wednesday.
The new proposal allows night-duty firefighters to have 'rest periods' between midnight and 7am when they are not responding to emergency calls or carrying out 'essential activities'.
The Fire Service had initially wanted workers to carry out more duties during their night roster. But the FBU threatened a strike ballot if the demand was not removed from the current pay and conditions negotiations.
The union rejected the wording of a watered-down deal put forward earlier this week, but employers accepted a counter-proposal yesterday.
Firefighters will be required to carry out emergency work and other duties that can only be done at night. Staff may also have to carry out 'risk management' work.
The FBU said the new agreement preserved its wish for 'stand down' time, which allowed firefighters to concentrate mainly on providing emergency services at night.
By Paul Yandall