Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

July 07, 2011 11:04 ET

Essex Fire Brigades Union Ratchets Up Industrial Action Over Cuts and Imposed Changes

ESSEX, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - July 7, 2011) - The Fire Brigades Union has ratcheted up their industrial action in the long-running Essex dispute over cuts and other imposed changes being forced on fire crews. The move is in response to the continued failure to resolve that dispute as further demonstrated with steps imposed by the fire service without agreement to try and plug the gaps being created by the current industrial action.

The union says there have been continuing reductions in the number of firefighters. These include forced relocations of firefighters and officers across the county to try and plug increasing gaps created by cuts in crews.

Firefighters have also been asked to cover whole 15 hour and 9 hour shifts in addition to their 48-hour shifts. The FBU says this is not acceptable in a risk critical industry.

Paul Woolstenholmes FBU national officer said: "Our serious concerns about cuts and imposed changes are not going to go away. The industrial action currently in place is exposing the impact of the cuts on the availability of fire appliances.

"Managers have been trying to impose changes in a desperate attempt to thwart the industrial action and these have largely failed. These new measures will expose further the problems created by the cuts.

"Imposing cuts and trying to plug the gaps is not the way forward. The action will go on until the fire authority properly addresses the trade dispute and negotiates an agreement with its employees to resolve that dispute.

"Huge sums of money are available to spend in a sensible manner. The authority is underspending its budget and has just added another £4.8 million to its reserves.

"Essex council taxpayers expect this money, their money, to be spent on frontline fire services, not ferreted away in the bank when major cuts are being made. There is no need for these cuts, the money is there and available.

"We hope for the best and would urge them to enter proper negotiations. We do however plan for the worst and expect further intolerant rants in response.

Action to commence from 09.00 on 14 July will include:

A ban on non-contractual overtime including working additional shifts to cover for staff shortages;

Managers working flexible duty should not work on their rota leave days;

A ban on acting-up to a higher role.

No new secondary contracts to be individually agreed or undertaken by any FBU members unless collectively negotiated and agreed by Essex FBU.

No new additional work agreements to be reached by individual FBU members unless the terms are fully in accordance with national agreements and have been checked and approved by Essex FBU.

A ban on any new temporary promotions to any posts at a higher role.

A ban on volunteering to undertake pre-arranged standbys at any workplace other than the member's normal place of work unless terms and conditions are collectively negotiated and agreed by Essex FBU.

A ban on volunteering to undertake activities which assist the imposed introduction of mixed-crewing to cover planned reductions in retained and wholetime firefighter numbers or to assist the imposed reduction in the status, resilience and speed of emergency response of a fire appliance. This ban does not apply where the activity is a clearly defined contractual obligation and within the member's existing role map.

Contact Information

  • Paul Adams
    Press Officer
    07788 647088