Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

July 24, 2009 08:41 ET

Union Astonished Over Firefighter Sacking Threat in Lincolnshire

LINCOLNSHIRE, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - July 24, 2009) - Lincolnshire Fire Brigades Union says it is astounded at the move by the County Council to sack 112 whole time firefighters and only re-employ those who agree to work a new shift system. The move affects the 6 Lincolnshire fire stations with wholetime firefighters who will all face the sack on 1 February 2010.

The union says the County Council has not engaged in balanced and meaningful consultation and negotiation.

Chris Hides Lincolnshire FBU brigade chair and a firefighter at Lincoln South station said: "The hidden agenda is to cut the number of firefighters at six stations and re-deploy sixteen frontline watch manager posts into some existing and some new roles. We believe these cuts make it impossible to design a shift system which complies with our contracts of employment or UK or European laws.

"The loss of sixteen watch manager posts will be a risk to firefighter safety. Watch managers are a crucial part of the Incident Command System at the initial stages of an incident and we will challenge this through Health and Safety Laws.

"To impose change in this manner without agreement is extremely foolhardy and there is no guarantee that firefighters will take up the new contract. Firefighters feel they are being forced to work a system that is far worse than the current shift system.

"With no agreement, up to 50 wholetime firefighters will not be giving night time cover at the day crewed stations. This will leave Lincolnshire without the required standard of fire cover in Skegness, Gainsborough, Grantham, and Boston.

"Instead of planning for an emergency the fire and rescue service are creating the conditions for a tragedy.

"The FBU and management have been in discussions and negotiation for over two years regarding the shift changes. An agreement was almost made last July subject to some further negotiations but the fire and rescue service refused to negotiate properly.

"The FBU have attempted to negotiate on many occasions in order to reach an agreement. The fire and rescue service has accepted it would like to be able to pay the firefighters of Lincolnshire for the changes and the additional working that the proposed new shift patterns contain but they do not have the budget to do so.

"The FBU offered binding arbitration through ACAS in February this year but this offer was turned down by the County Council. That was entirely unreasonable in the circumstances and sent a clear message that they are prepared to take measures that will only end in confrontation and dispute.

"The FBU still believes that an agreement can be reached that addresses the concerns of fire crews, the fire and rescue service and the County Council. We have serious concerns about the impact of these changes and threatening to sack firefighters does not address those concerns."

Contact Information

  • Fire Brigades Union
    Chris Hides
    Fire Brigades Union
    Craig Tuck
    Fire Brigades Union
    Tom Murray