Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

July 28, 2009 08:32 ET

Essex Fire Dispute-Ballot Result Due Friday 31st July

ESSEX, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - July 28, 2009) - Essex Fire Brigades Union will announce the result of a ballot for industrial action over plans to cut one in ten frontline firefighters based at stations. Fire crews also want managers to negotiate other changes rather than impose them.

The result of the ballot for industrial action - short of a strike - is due on 31st July. The details of the action will be decided at a meeting of representatives from all fire stations and other fire service workplaces across Essex.

If the vote is 'yes' the union must give the fire authority at least 7 day's notice of when any action will commence. The union will fulfill all necessary legal requirements and give all the notification required. The individual secret ballot is being overseen by Popularis.

Keith Flynn, Essex FBU Brigade Chair said: "No one in Essex wants to take any form of industrial action. We have urged the fire authority to stop imposing changes and to adopt a joint approach and reach agreement.

"But the fire authority will not even reconsider plans to cut one in ten frontline station-based firefighters. These cuts will mean fewer firefighters spread more thinly across the County.

"Essex fire crews believe the service has become top heavy at the expense of the frontline 999 emergency response. There has been too much empire building at the headquarters offices with the pay packages, cars and trappings to match.

"We've proposed a joint review of the balance between office based activities and the 999 emergency response with a view to redeploying resources back to fire stations. We must look at where genuine savings can be made because there are alternatives to targeting cuts at frontline fire crews.

"Our aim is to turn our disagreements into agreements. There is still time for constructive talks to resolve the issues and I would urge the authority to take that approach.

"Essex fire crews and officers are highly committed to what we do and the value we and the public place on what we do. Don't doubt we will defend the service we provide."

Essex Fire and Rescue Service is set to implement a rolling programme of cuts to the frontline 999 emergency response service. The result will be fewer firefighters spread more thinly across Essex, leaving too few firefighters on duty to crew all the fire engines.

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.

Forty four of those jobs - one in ten of the frontline fire station based crews -would go by changing the way higher reach aerial ladder platforms and rescue tenders are crewed. The impact would be there would not be enough firefighters to crew all appliances, even if they were needed in a 999 emergency.

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

  • Media contacts:
    Fire Brigade Union
    Mick Rogers
    07967 023709
    Fire Brigade Union
    Keith Flynn
    07956 459111