Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

April 05, 2009 19:01 ET

South Yorkshire Fire Crews Commence Ballot for Industrial Action Over Plans to Impose 12-Hour Day Working

YORK, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - April 2, 2009) -

EMBARGOED RELEASE 00.01 APRIL 6

South Yorkshire fire crews are starting their ballot for industrial action short of a strike against plans to impose 12-hour day shifts along with new start and finish times. Firefighters say the changes would damage family life and cause problems with childcare.

Individual ballot papers are now starting to arrive at firefighters' homes. The secret ballot is being overseen by Popularis and the earliest date any action could take place is early May.

Jerry Pagan, South Yorkshire FBU, said: "Imposing change without agreement is an aggressive move by the fire authority and it has gone down very badly with firefighters. These plans have been repeatedly rejected at fire station meetings and in two separate surveys.

"Managers and councillors seem to have convinced themselves their plans are popular and the union is wrong. It seems that only a ballot for industrial action can help them understand the true strength of feeling and that is regrettable.

"If managers and councillors impose change without agreement there will be industrial action and they need to wake up to that. Instead of listening to the union, they are shooting the messenger at every opportunity.

"Firefighters with children will be forced to start at 8 in the morning and finish at 8 at night. That extends our days, but it also extends the day for our children to as much as 13 hours in childcare.

"The arrangements working parents have in place will be disrupted and new arrangements will have to be found. Before and after school clubs can't fill the gap, and there is little formal childcare available at weekends or school holidays when firefighters are working as normal.

"We will continue to seek a fair and reasonable agreement by negotiation. But fire crews will not accept imposition and the fire authority needs to wake up to that fact."

Those fire crews who work shifts do so in 48 hour blocks of two 9 hour day shifts (9am to 6pm) followed by two 15 hour night shifts (6pm to 9am). The proposals would introduce 12 hour day working and 12 hour night working.

Contact Information

  • Media contacts:
    Jerry Pagan
    07977 931086
    or
    Ian Watkins
    07970 148720