London Fire Brigade

Resolution Advisory Panel announces findings to Brigade and FBU in bid to end industrial action

22 November 2010

The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority today welcomed the recommendations put forward by the Resolution Advisory Panel that seek a way forward in the dispute over proposed changes to start and finish times for firefighters.

The independent Chairman of the Panel, Professor of Industrial Relations William Brown has set out two recommendations he believes will give the increased productivity the Brigade believes is important to help keep Londoners safe. Professor Brown also believed that ‘there is a case for contractual change.’

The first recommendation is a day shift of 11hours and a night shift of 13 hours with start times of 09.00 and 20.00 which includes a number of additional proposals on a range of issues such as allowances and leave. The second is a day shift of 10.5 hrs and a night shift of 13.5 hours with start times of 09.30 and 20.00 alongside a proposal for ‘direct standbys’.

Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, Councillor Brian Coleman, said:-

“I strongly welcome the RAP proposals and we are considering the detail to work out which is most advantageous for us. When that work is completed we will be putting that recommendation to the Authority.”
 
Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, Ron Dobson, said:-

“I am pleased that the independent Chairman of the Panel has supported my view that there is a case for contractual change and the two recommendations put forward by Professor Brown now give the FBU the opportunity to put both to their members to decide which one of these options they would prefer.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

Professor William Brown made the following recommendations (below). A full copy of the proposals are available on request.

“The London Fire Brigade has been clear that it needs to achieve increased productivity. In my view there are two options that give that increased productivity.
 
1) Within the 2; 2; 4 shift pattern, the day shift should be 11 hrs and the night shift should be 13 hrs, with start times of 09.00 and 20.00 respectively. In addition the following sections set out in the authority’s draft proposals of 22 October 2010 should apply:

  • allowances

  • brigade medical appointments 

  • buying back of leave

  • partial mutual exchange of duty and flexible relief from duty

  • off duty personnel staying at stations

Alternatively:

2) Within the 2; 2; 4 shift pattern, the day shift should be 10.5 hrs and the night shift should be 13.5 hrs, with start times of 09.30 and 20.00 respectively. In addition, the position set out in the authority’s draft proposals of 22 October 2010 in respect of Direct Standbys should apply, modified in respect of distance to 7.5 miles.

Accordingly, I believe that there is a case for contractual change. But because it is a contractual change I further believe that in this instance employees should be consulted by the union through a robust mechanism on which of the two options is the most preferable. “

A copy of the Panel’s recommendations is available on request.

Negotiations on pay and conditions in the fire service nationally are carried out by a body called the National Joint Council. The Employers side and the FBU side each have a Joint Secretary to assist in the conduct of negotiations

The Resolution Advisory Panel (RAP) is part of this national negotiating machinery. It appoints an independent Chair who hears the case from both sides and can make subsequent recommendations on a way forward.

At the meeting on 16 November the panel comprised negotiation teams from the London Fire Brigade and the London Region of the FBU, the two joint secretaries, and the independent Chair was Professor of Industrial Relations William Brown.