FBU says dispute can be resolved if employer enters talks
Firefighters in Essex are set to strike over frontline cuts and changes forced through without proper negotiation or agreement.
The FBU has left open the door for the dispute to be resolved without resorting to strike action, offering to involve both the national fire service conciliators and ACAS under nationally agreed procedures.
Brigade secretary Mick Rogers said: “Essex fire crews have suggested a way forward to resolve the issues in dispute. But cuts and imposition of changes have left us with no alternative but to start balloting for strike action.
“The legal timetable for ballots is such that there is more than enough time to resolve the issues between us. Any potential strike action is some way off.
“I would urge the fire authority to respond positively to our proposals to broker an agreement using the nationally agreed procedures rather than ploughing on regardless. They should be in no doubt as to the resolute determination of their own fire crews on these issues.”
The union says the legal notices and ballot timetable still leaves more than enough time for detailed talks to resolve the dispute but warns the ballot is necessary because the fire authority is pressing ahead with impositions and plans for further cuts. There have already been major frontline cuts across Essex fire service. Wholetime specialist rescue crews have been removed from Colchester, Harlow, Basildon, Grays and Southend.
Half the wholetime fire engine crews at Brentwood and the wholetime crew from Canvey Island have been cut with more cuts threatened. Meanwhile millions of pounds of tax-payers money continues to be diverted from the frontline service into the HQ property expansion and IT programme.
The FBU has set out the details of the dispute in full in a letter to the fire authority so they can be in no doubt as to what the issues are.
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