Talks with employers break down, prompting FBU to take action

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Essex fire crews have today set five days of strike action against frontline cuts after talks with employers broke down.

FBU members in the county decided not to name strike dates to allow a last-ditch attempt to reach a settlement over cuts and changes in conditions.

The talks failed after the chief fire officer said he could not reach a deal in key areas without the approval of the fire authority.

Essex FBU chair Alan Chinn-Shaw said: “This is about cuts to frontline firefighters and changes imposed on firefighters. We’ve had enough and the cuts are now directly impacting on public and firefighter safety.

“The cuts and impositions continue while the fire authority says it wants talks. That simply undermines the talks before they start.

“The recent highly provocative removal of key fire engines and vital rescue equipment contradicts the fire authority claim that it is being reasonable. This two-faced approach has gone on for three years and enough is enough.

“The issues are about cuts and imposed and unjustified changes and these need to be addressed. The fire authority must either address the concerns or there will be strike action.

“Essex firefighters do not want to take strike action and want this dispute resolved. In response we’ve had schoolboy insults and a refusal to seriously address the issues in dispute.

“We’ve tried every avenue to try to broker an agreement or get talks with all the key parties involved. The fire authority responds with prevarication.

“This week, an attempt at setting up inclusive talks to try and break the logjam was thrown back in our faces. We need people in the room with the authority and skills to make the deal and that has not been happening.

“All the while the cuts and the impositions continue. On top of which firefighters have had to endure aggressive management tactics and the provocative removal of vital rescue equipment which contradicts the conciliatory rhetoric of the service.

“We have been very reluctant to set strike dates in the hope the fire authority will see some sense. Strike dates have now been set, but there is time to make progress and reach an agreement and we hope the fire authority takes that opportunity.”

The strike dates have been set for June 28th, July 7th and 19th, August 18th, and October 18th .

 


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