Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

May 16, 2012 11:30 ET

Legal Technicality Puts Back Start of Essex Fire Ballot by Seven Days, but Ballot Closing Date Remains

ESSEX, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - May 16, 2012) - Essex fire crews have put back the start of their strike ballot by seven days because of a legal technicality. The Fire Brigades Union has now formally re-served notice of the strike ballot in a dispute over frontline cuts and changes forced through without proper negotiation or agreement.

Only the start of the ballot has changed, the closing date remains in place. The legal timetable governing ballots would typically mean no strike action can take place until 7 days after the ballot closes on 13 June.

The decision was made on legal advice regarding the eligibility of ten FBU members to vote in the ballot. The union put back the start of the ballot to avoid the potential to fall foul of the very strict legal requirements around industrial action ballots.

Essex Fire Brigades Union is still awaiting a positive response to its proposals for third-party assistance in resolving industrial relations issues in Essex. The union has offered to involve both the national fire service conciliators and ACAS under nationally agreed procedures.

The chief officer confirmed to the union that all issues in dispute would continue to be implemented regardless of any talks with ACAS or national fire service conciliators. There continue to be communications between the two sides and with conciliators.

The union says the ballot is necessary because the fire authority is pressing ahead with impositions and plans for further cuts. There have already been major frontline cuts across Essex fire service. Wholetime specialist rescue crews have been removed from Colchester, Harlow, Basildon, Grays and Southend.

Half the wholetime fire engine crews at Brentwood and the wholetime crew from Canvey Island have been cut with more cuts threatened. Meanwhile millions of pounds of tax-payers money continues to be diverted from the frontline service into the HQ property expansion and IT programme.

Mick Rogers FBU brigade secretary said: "We are ready and willing to start resolving these issues within the well-established and nationally agreed procedures. But so long as the fire authority continues to implement the cuts and impose changes we shall continue with our ballot.

"A legal technicality arose which we have had to address after legal advice but that only impacts on the start of the ballot. The rest of the timetable remains and there is more than enough time to resolve the issues between us.

"The authority should be in no doubt as to the resolute determination of their own fire crews on these issues. These issues are not going to go away and need to be addressed."

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
    Regional Official
    07967 023706