Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

August 07, 2011 18:31 ET

Essex Fire Crews Put Forward Compromise Deal in Attempt to Bring Two-Year Dispute to an End

ESSEX, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Aug. 7, 2011) - Essex Fire Brigades Union are putting forward a compromise deal it hopes will end its long running dispute with Essex Fire Authority. The deal would see the union agree to more flexible crewing arrangements at fire stations to ensure the focus remains on protecting the frontline.

It will reluctantly accept some reductions in overall staffing numbers across the whole service. Fire crews have been taking industrial action short of a strike for two years in protest at cuts and imposed changes.

The deal would see a reprieve for the cuts at Brentwood and Canvey fire stations until at least 31st March 2013. This allows time for the Fire Authority, Fire Brigades Union and the local councils time to look at viable alternatives when round 2 of the central government funding settlement is known.

The detailed terms of the deal are based on those negotiated and agreed by both sides in July 2010. The Chief Fire Officer decided he could not sign that deal when anticipating Government funding cuts of £7.5 million.

The Union says the terms of the new deal are affordable until at least 31st March 2013 because the Government grant settlement was more generous than the Essex Chief Fire Officer anticipated. Instead of a £10 million cut in funding which was suggested by senior officers, the outcome was in fact only a £50,000 cut for 2011/2012 and a £750,000 increase in budget for 2012/2013.

The FBU also points to the £4.8 million the Fire Authority have taken from this year's budget to put into hugely increased reserves earmarked to cover the rising costs of increasingly over budget projects including IT and the expansion of the Service Headquarters development at Kelvedon Park.

Mick Rogers, Essex FBU Brigade Secretary:

"This is a compromise deal for us but if agreed it will provide some protection to the frontline of the Service which is what the public of Essex, Firefighters, Officers and Control Operators expect when you consider the Fire Authority have received additional funding. We can confirm that we have the mandate from our members to sign the deal today if it is agreed.

"Our aim is to minimise cuts to the frontline services which is what all political parties say they want. We remain realistic about the potential funding issues from 1st April 2013 when we'll see what the next round of Government funding grants will be.

"Signing this deal now would give all parties a 12-month window in which to work together. We can look at all options available to maintain our vital frontline services in the challenging times ahead.

"We hope that the opportunity this compromise deal offers is seized by all parties involved."

Contact Information

  • Mick Rogers
    (Brigade Secretary)
    07967 023709

    Nick Mayes
    (Assistant Brigade Secretary)
    07917 065870