Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

October 12, 2009 11:34 ET

South Yorkshire-Fire Crews Set Two Strike Dates After Authority Refuses to Withdraw Dismissal Notices and Rejects National Talks

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Oct. 12, 2009) - South Yorkshire fire crews have set two days of strike action in response to the fire authority's refusal to withdraw dismissal notices served on 744 firefighters. The authority has also turned down a union request to seek the assistance of national employers and union to help broker an agreement.

Strike dates set: 19th Oct 6pm to 20th Oct 6pm and 23rd Oct 6pm to 24th Oct 6pm.

Ian Murray, FBU regional secretary said: "The fire authority is hellbent on a strategy of confrontation. They have refused to withdraw the redundancy notice involving 744 firefighters and have turned down our request of national mediation.

"We asked them to seek the assistance of national employers and union to try and broker an agreement. This is the usual avenue of mediation when agreement is not reached at local level, but they have turned this down as well.

"South Yorkshire fire crews are very disappointed. We have been very reluctant to set strike dates in the hope the fire authority will see some sense.

"We've put forward alternatives which save even more money and free up more time for training and community fire safety. These have also been rejected.

"Having turned down every alternative and rejected national mediation they have left us with no choice. You don't threaten to dismiss 744 firefighters and not expect a strong response including strike action.

"Changing the shifts is the key to them cutting firefighters and fire appliances at night time when the most dangerous fires occur. They have already approved these plans, but remain in a state of denial which flies in the face of the truth."

The South Yorkshire Corporate Plan 2007-2011 Integrated Risk Management Plan (at page 28) states:

"We will vary the level of service provision in accordance with the level of risk

We propose to match the daily availability of rescue pumps to the daily variation in fire risk levels. Most emergencies happen during the day time and as such this is when we are busiest; we therefore plan to ensure more pumps are available during the busier times. Correspondingly we will reduce the numbers of pumps available during the less busy periods."

South Yorkshire fire crews voted five to one to strike against plans to sack 744 firefighters to force through new contracts requiring 12-hour day shifts from 1 January. The Fire Brigades Union was notified of the mass sackings of all 744 firefighters by fax on 30 June.

An overtime ban is already in place in a dispute over efforts to force firefighters to work 12-hour day shifts, rather than the current nine-hour duties, under their current contracts. Firefighters say the change in working hours are a prelude to cutting emergency cover during the night, a step they believe threatens public safety. The proposed shifts would also damage family life and make it impossible for many to arrange childcare provision.

Contact Information

  • Regional and local media contacts:
    Ian Murray
    07967 103345
    Jeremy Pagan
    07977 931086