Jan 30, 2023 | UK News

Merseyside firefighters are taking industrial action by refusing to undertake pre-arranged overtime. The strike action, which started on 1 December for up to six months, follows the successful ballot of Merseyside Fire Brigades Union members, which returned a result in favour of not undertaking pre-arranged overtime.

Ian Hibbert, Brigade Secretary for Merseyside Fire Brigades Union, said: “Merseyside Fire and Rescue Services’ continued refusal to abide by locally and nationally agreed negotiation procedures has left Merseyside FBU members with little choice but to take industrial action. Like many workers, our members are suffering through the worst cost of living crisis in decades, whilst simultaneously having to fend off attacks on our terms and conditions of service, perpetrated by our local fire authority.

“The FBU in Merseyside have always sought to resolve issues through constructive dialogue and negotiation. However, by seeking to alter the terms and conditions and even the very job role of a firefighter at point of entry, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service have left us in no doubt that it is their intention to cut the FBU out of discussions entirely.

Issues leading to Merseyside members voting overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action:

* The imposed reduction in night-time staffing numbers in Merseyside Fire Control Room from the agreed level of six to five.

* The introduction of new duty shift systems – without negotiation – which essentially require new firefighters to work both wholetime and retained and breach nationally agreed terms and conditions in relation to overtime rates of pay.

* The non-agreed expansion of the firefighter role in contracts for all new entrants.

* Firefighter apprentices being required to attend the workplace outside of core hours to undertake training sessions, assessments, charity days and exams.

Since the close of the ballot, local FBU officials have sought resolution on all issues, however sufficient movement has not been made to allay the concerns of Merseyside Fire Brigades Union Members.

“Merseyside FBU has made no demands which could result in less fire engines, less fire stations, slower response times or fewer staff in our fire control room. The Fire Brigades union has always fought to maintain fire cover, campaigns such as the one led by the Fire Brigades Union in 2018 to save night-time fire cover at Liverpool City Centre and Wallasey fire stations stand as testament to this.

“FBU members are not asking for a lot, in fact the vast majority of the issues which have led us to this point could be resolved at no cost to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority or the public whom we serve. We are asking for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service to honour our nationally agreed terms and conditions and enter negotiation and reach agreement with the FBU on all issues.”

For more information, comment or interviews please contact Merseyside FBU Brigade Secretary Ian Hibbert at 07966 722784 or [email protected] or Merseyside FBU Brigade Chair Lee Hunter at 07834 656081 or [email protected] Alternatively, contact Ben Duncan-Duggal on [email protected] and 07825635224.

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