Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

October 28, 2009 13:05 ET

Merseyside Fire Crews: Drop Cuts and Re-Instate Kevin Hughes or We Ballot

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Oct. 28, 2009) - Merseyside fire crews have given the fire authority seven days to withdraw a cuts package and re-instate a sacked union official or they will ballot for industrial action. The move extends the scope of the dispute and is in addition to the ballot for strike action in support of Mr Hughes which remains in place, although no strike dates have yet been set.

The union says in addition to the cuts, there have been breaches of the agreement which ended a dispute in 2006. It has accused the fire authority of aggressive management and a lack of compromise or flexibility.

The cuts include the total loss of 68 frontline posts and moving another 36 firefighter posts to office based work on support staff pay and conditions. The authority has also extended the use of the controversial LLAR system at Eccleston fire station which means longer response times, extended working hours and the loss of firefighter posts in breach of an agreement to seek the involvement of ACAS.

Les Skarratts, Merseyside FBU brigade secretary said: "These are real cuts to the number of frontline firefighters in Merseyside which will impact on how we respond to 999 emergencies. It will mean fewer firefighters spread more thinly taking longer to get to incidents.

"The local fire crews have had enough, but all we are doing is responding to the aggressive actions of the fire authority which includes sacking Kevin Hughes. There was no substance to the allegations made which is why he was never charged after a thorough police investigation.

"There is a lack of compromise and flexibility on their part. There have been relentless cuts on Merseyside over the last three years, more than anywhere else and there is nothing more you can cut without having a real impact on the service we provide.

"Unless the fire authority has a change of heart and wants to reach a compromise then we will be forced into a further ballot which extends the dispute. But there is no sign that their hard-line stance is going to change.

"We'd like the fire authority to reconsider. At this stage there is no sign of that and we will therefore have no option but to ballot for industrial action."

Contact Information

  • Media contact:
    Les Skarratts
    07834 656088