Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

July 09, 2008 05:20 ET

London Fire Crews Warn of Strike Ballot as Brigade Cancels Crunch Talks Over Pounds Sterling 2,000 Pay Cuts for Watch Managers

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - July 9, 2008) - London's fire crews are warning they may have no option but to ballot for strike action after bosses cancelled crunch talks over moves to cut the pay of watch managers by up to Pounds Sterling 2,000 a year. Local firefighters are furious at the decision, which comes in the same week fire crews were publicly praised for their actions during the London bombings three years ago.

The dispute centres on 380 watch managers moving from what was known as an officer "rank" to a new manager "role". But the move will lead to staged pay cuts of up to Pounds Sterling 2,000 a year.

Under the terms of a national agreement, London Fire Brigades top bosses can prevent this, but are refusing to do so. Talks set for this Friday have been abruptly cancelled by senior managers fuelling anger among fire crews.

But London Fire Brigades Union leaders says they will turn up for the talks at the agreed time to demand they go ahead. The FBU's ruling national executive has already approved a full scale industrial action ballot in London if the talks do not produce an acceptable local agreement.

FBU Regional secretary Joe MacVeigh said: "It is simply not acceptable to force pay cuts of up to Pounds Sterling 2,000 on fire service watch managers. The minimum national terms can be improved at local level and many other fire authorities have done so.

"There appear to be some top managers in the brigade who are hellbent on provoking a dispute. To abruptly cancel talks aimed at resolving the matter is insulting and highly provocative.

"London fire crews, including watch managers, go above and beyond the call of duty every day to protect our communities. I believe Londoners will be disgusted that their fire crews are being treated in this tawdry fashion.

"We'll still be attending the talks we agreed to. If top managers continue to refuse to resolve this issue, then an industrial action ballot is inevitable."

The talks were scheduled to take place at 10am on 11 July at London Fire Brigade Headquarters, 169 Union Street, London SE1 0LL.

Fire crews from across London are expected to attend to show support for their colleagues.

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