Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

June 14, 2012 15:31 ET

Essex Fire Crews Hold Off Setting Strike Dates and Offer 'Martini' Talks to Councillors to Break Deadlock in Dispute-Any Time, Any Place, Anywhere

ESSEX, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - June 14, 2012) - Essex fire crews have held off from immediately setting strike dates and asked senior councillors to attend 'talks about talks' in a bid to break the deadlock in their dispute. The chair and vice-chair of the fire authority have been given an open invitation to meet with union representatives and national fire service conciliators to explore avenues for resolving the dispute.

Essex Fire Brigades Union says it is placing no restrictions on what can be raised by the councillors nor on who else they chose to bring to exploratory talks. The move follows a statement yesterday from Tony Hedley, the Chair of the fire authority who said talks and were the way forward.

The union has offered 'Martini' talks - anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

Yesterday the FBU announced fire crews had voted TWO to ONE in favour of strike action in a dispute over frontline cuts and changes forced through without proper negotiation or agreement. Current plans for cuts would see the loss of one in five frontline crews in Essex since 2008, with the public already waiting longer for fire crews to turn up to fires in the home.

Mick Rogers FBU brigade secretary said: "The General Secretary has not given immediate notice of strike action so we can explore whether there might be a way forward through conciliation. No one in the fire service wants to take strike action and we are trying to avoid taking action if possible.

"We have written to the Tony Hedley and the vice-chair of the fire authority asking them to attend exploratory talks anytime, anyplace, anywhere. We are placing no restrictions on those talks, nor are we placing any preconditions or limitations on who they can bring with them or what issues are raised.

"We have asked national fire service conciliators - representatives from both employers and unions - to attend to assist in breaking the deadlock and exploring a way forward. These will be open talks with an open agenda to explore a way forward which could, potentially, avoid strike action.

"We're in no doubt that Tony Hedley is genuine in what he has said this week about his desire for talks to resolve the dispute. At this stage we need to set some of the rhetoric aside, and explore what avenues there may be to reach a resolution.

"The fire authority is well aware there are tight legal timescales regarding strike action following a ballot and there is only a small window of opportunity. As a result we have asked them for a response by 2pm on Wednesday 20 June to allow them a reasonable time to consider our proposal."

Contact Information

  • Mick Rogers
    Brigade Secretary
    07967 023709

    Alan Chinn-Shaw
    Brigade Chair
    07967 - 720363

    Nick Mayes
    Assistant Brigade Secretary
    07917 065870

    Derek Godfrey-Shaw
    07967 023706