The Chairman of the Fire Authority, which runs the London Fire Brigade, today called for conciliation - not strike action at the expense of firefighters - to resolve a London dispute.
Councillor Brian Coleman said: “From today firefighters are being asked to vote for a strike, on top of planned ‘work to rule’ action. I expect changes to the way the fire and rescue service is run to generate debate, but there is no need for firefighters to lose money by taking strike action that will not resolve this dispute.”
Brigade changes are needed to increase the amount of time in the day shift for fire prevention work that has helped to reduce the number of fires in the capital by 48 per cent in the last nine years, and provide more time for the specialist training firefighters now need to receive.
The proposals seek to keep the same shift pattern of two day duties, two night duties and four days off. The 15 hour night shift would reduce and the nine hour day shift would increase, providing two equal 12 hour shifts. A recommended compromise of an 11 hour day and 13 hour night has already been made by the Brigade - talks with the Union continue.
In July following five years of discussion, and frustration at a lack of progress made, London Fire Commissioner, Ron Dobson, began a formal process of consultation under section188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, to set in place a three month timetable for the Brigade and FBU to reach a final agreement. The process of terminating contracts and offering new contracts will be subject to final decision and only commence if discussions during that timetable do not result in an agreement.
The Authority has now called for the National Joint Council joint secretaries to assist in bringing the dispute to an end.
Notes to Editors:
The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, runs the London Fire Brigade.
Industrial action short of a strike will begin from Friday (24 September), affecting overtime for firefighters, and impacting on voluntary programmes run by the Brigade.
The Union announced on the 16 September it will ballot members for a strike, a day before the result of an existing ballot for industrial action short of a strike was known.
The Authority will decide in November how changes to the start and finish times for firefighters will be introduced.