Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

December 08, 2009 10:49 ET

Essex Fire Dispute-Firefighters to Lobby Fire Authority Meeting Wednesday 9 December

ESSEX, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Dec. 8, 2009) - Essex fire crews are to lobby a fire authority meeting on Wednesday 9 December. They'll be calling for the authority to seek conciliation to help resolve a dispute over cuts.

Firefighters, Control Staff and Officers will be lobbying the meeting at Essex County Council, County Hall, Market Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JZ. Fire crews will be gathering from 09.30 hours and the meeting is scheduled to start at 10.00.

Essex fire crews stepped up their industrial action on Monday to include a ban on new individual secondary contracts and on new additional work agreements which do not conform to national conditions of service. The union accused managers of being incapable of reaching an agreement at a time when frontline staff shortages are getting worse with negotiations deadlocked.

Keith Flynn, FBU brigade secretary said: "The cuts have already started to bite and the chief officer now accepts there are staff shortages at fire stations. More cuts will make matters worse.

"There is no better time to go to the next stage in talks which is to bring in assistance to help broker an agreement. This is the agreed process and involves national employers and union to assist.

"Our dispute has intensified this week. The only way it will be resolved is by using all avenues to seek agreement and that's what we're asking the fire authority to move towards today."

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 and the loss of 24 firefighter posts.

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

  • Regional and local media contacts:
    Keith Flynn
    07956 459111
    Mick Rogers
    07967 023709
    Lindley Chambers
    07792 741917
    Adrian Clarke
    07917 017713