Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

July 03, 2012 08:17 ET

Essex Fire Strikes-Fresh Impositions and New 'Fast Track' Discipline Adds Fuel to Dispute Days Before ACAS Meetings

ESSEX, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - July 3, 2012) - Essex fire crews have accused managers of fuelling their dispute by imposing even more new changes without agreement. Essex Fire Brigades Union has accused managers of crass and inflammatory action only a matter of days before a meeting organised by ACAS to try and resolve the dispute is due to take place.

Fire Chiefs have imposed a new 'fast track' disciplinary process for managers to use against firefighters in response to the lawful strike action being taken against frontline cuts and other imposed changes. This fresh attack is on top of the heavy-handed approach adopted by fire chiefs since last year when they controversially took disciplinary action against more than forty firefighters from Basildon for daring to write in confidence to local politicians about their professional concerns over frontline cuts.

At the time, one councillor said that fire chiefs were running the service "like a dictatorship."

The brigade's training officers have now been told of fresh changes imposed on them to temporarily relocate anywhere across Essex at short notice. A similar imposition on frontline fire crews is already a part of the dispute and fire chiefs have now extended this to a whole new part of the workforce again without any prior consultation or agreement.

The union accused senior managers of acting like playground bullies because fire crews have dared to stand up against the frontline cuts and impositions. The union said the actions were inflammatory and fanned the flames of the dispute.

Adrian Clarke, FBU Regional Secretary: "While we are preparing to work hard with ACAS and the national fire service conciliators to try and resolve this dispute, managers are taking inflammatory action. Instead of taking the heat out of the situation they seem intent on fanning the flames of conflict.

"We've already seen almost every firefighter and officer at Basildon disciplined for simply exercising their democratic right to raise their professional concerns with local politicians. It now seems senior managers are cranking up the climate of fear within the service in a desperate bid to silence any professional opposition to their cuts and impositions.

"Clearly, none of this will assist in resolving the dispute. It is almost as if some senior managers are trying to derail this week's talks before they've even begun."

Contact Information

  • Media contacts
    Adrian Clarke
    07917 017713

    Keith Handscomb
    07730 435633