Essex FBU members give fire authority last chance to solve dispute before taking action
Firefighters in Essex have offered to take part in last-ditch talks with their employer before setting strike dates.
Essex FBU members yesterday voted 2:1 to take action over frontline cuts but, rather than set a date for action, have instead issued an open invitation to the chair and vice-chair of the fire authority to meet and discuss a resolution. They have until Wednesday to respond.
FBU brigade secretary Mick Rogers FBU said: “We wanted to explore whether there might be a way forward through conciliation. No one in the fire service wants to take strike action and we are trying to avoid taking action if possible.
“We are placing no restrictions on these talks, nor are we placing any preconditions or limitations on who they can bring with them or what issues are raised.
“We have asked national fire service conciliators – representatives from both employers and unions – to attend to assist in breaking the deadlock and exploring a way forward. These will be open talks with an open agenda to explore a way forward which could, potentially, avoid strike action.
Current plans for cuts would see the loss of one in five frontline crews in Essex since 2008, with the public already waiting longer for fire crews to turn up to fires in the home.
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