Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

November 03, 2009 09:02 ET

Essex Fire Crews-Cuts Programme and Industrial Action Continues

ESSEX, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Nov. 3, 2009) - Essex fire crews have confirmed their industrial action will continue unless or until real- progress is made in the talks that are planned to resume on 16th November. The action, short of a strike, commenced on 26th August 2009 and includes an overtime ban, not acting up to fill absences in more senior ranks and officers not working on day's off.

Firefighter and Officer Reps from across Essex met last night (Monday 2nd November) in Witham to discuss the management's one-sided request that fire crews and officer ranks end their industrial action.

Keith Flynn, Essex FBU Chair: "We're looking forward to the talks but the management have asked us to end our action whilst at the same time they have made it clear that their plans remain unchanged and they shall continue to implement the frontline cuts. In all fairness, unless the management at least put their implementation plans on hold then what incentive is there for fire crews and fire officers to suspend our action?"

"The important thing for both sides is to focus on turning our disagreements into an agreement so that the dispute and the industrial action can come to an end. We are clear such an agreement must be acceptable to both sides and address the concerns of both sides."

The Fire Authority proposes to cut the number of firefighters by "managed vacancies" from 954 firefighters in December 2008, to an average of 940 during 2008/9, to 920 during 2009/10, to 905 in March 2010.

The cuts mean frontline firefighters being spread more thinly across Essex and has also led to the controversial decision to downgrade the way special appliances like rescue tenders and aerial (high reach) appliances are crewed. On October 1, cuts in the number of firefighters at Colchester, Chelmsford and Harlow stations resulted in the removal of dedicated crews for specialist emergency vehicles. The cuts mean there are only enough firefighters to crew three of the four appliances currently crewed at these fire stations (two fire engines and two specialist vehicles), even if they are all needed in a 999 emergency.

Similar plans affecting Leigh, Southend, Basildon and Grays fire stations are to be implemented sometime soon, but exactly when is yet to be announced.

The union has also objected to a number of other changes which it says local managers are trying to impose rather than negotiate.

Contact Information

  • Keith Flynn
    07956 459111
    or
    Mick Rogers
    07967 023709
    or
    Lindley Chambers
    07792 741917
    or
    Adrian Clarke
    07917 017713