Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

August 19, 2009 15:09 ET

Essex Fire Service Dispute-No Breakthrough, but Full and Frank Exchange Paves Way for More Detailed Talks Next Week

ESSEX, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Aug. 19, 2009) - Two hours of initial talks aimed at settling the Essex fire dispute ended today and will resume next Wednesday. The Fire Brigades Union described the talks as a full and frank exchange which paved the way for more detailed talks next week.

Essex fire crews are to start an overtime ban and action short of a strike at 09.00 on Wednesday 26 August in a dispute over cuts and other changes.

FBU Brigade chair Keith Flynn said: "There was a full and frank exchange of views between fire service professionals which have paved the way for more detailed talks next week. No one expected the many detailed and complex issues to be resolved today.

"The important thing is we can now focus on turning our disagreements into an agreement. We are clear such an agreement must be acceptable to both sides and address the concerns of both sides."

Essex Fire and Rescue Service are 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:
    Mick Rogers
    07967 023709
    Keith Flynn
    07956 459111
    Paul Adams
    07967 720363