Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

December 01, 2009 10:55 ET

Essex Dispute-Fire Crews Extend Industrial Action from 7 December

ESSEX, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Dec. 1, 2009) - Essex fire crews will extend their industrial action from 7 December 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 move comes after the fire authority's continuing refusal to reach an agreement over a cuts package which they have already started to implement.

Further talks take place on Thursday 3 December as agreed. The FBU refutes claims they cancelled a meeting on 30 November, saying no meeting had ever been set.

The union has written confirmation from the fire authority which makes clear meetings would take place during the week beginning 30 November. Those meetings start on 3 December, as mutually agreed.

Paul Adams, FBU assistant brigade secretary said: "Our industrial action will be extended to include a ban on individual secondary contracts and on new additional work agreements which do not conform to national conditions of service. The fire authority must surely realize that beneficial and long-lasting change is best achieved through negotiation and agreement.

"The authority has not yet addressed any of the key issues in our dispute and have pressed ahead with cuts with more cuts planned. As a result, we are extending our industrial action and it will remain in place until agreement is reached.

"It is simply not true the union cancelled a meeting on Monday. The fire authority is wrong and have an e-mail exchange to prove it.

"The arrangement, confirmed in writing, is for a meeting to take place during the week starting the 30 November. Both sides have agreed that will take place this Thursday 3 December.

"The outrage they expressed in a statement to the media is a smokescreen to hide the real story that they accept there are already frontline shortages at fire stations. The fire authority is trying to divert the local media from the "station shortages" bombshell at the bottom of their own press release.

"The fire authority now wants firefighters to work even more than their 48-hour shifts to fill the gaps created by cuts. These shortages will be made even worse by the frontline cuts they have already started to push through which have seen the loss of 24 frontline firefighter posts at Harlow and Colchester."

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. 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

  • Keith Flynn
    07956 459111
    Mick Rogers
    07967 023709
    Lindley Chambers
    07792 741917
    Adrian Clarke
    07917 017713