SIPTU members in the Retained Fire Service have started their industrial action today (6 June), which will be followed by rolling strikes on 13 June and all-out strikes on 20 June.
As part of the normal industrial relations protocol of agreeing contingency plans, all local authorities have engaged with SIPTU at local level to put in place robust contingency arrangements.
The trade union confirmed that throughout the strike action it will comply with the provisions of the Code of Practice on emergency disputes (reflecting what it described as the ‘professionalism and dedication’ of its retained fire service personnel) to ensure the provision of fire services even during a strike situation, in addition to responding to all emergency calls involving life-threatening situations.
With a negotiation process initiated with SIPTU, the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) agreed to appointing an independent third-party facilitator to shape a proposal to be agreed by the LGMA and staff representatives. This led to a significant offer by fire service management which would result in an increase in fire service numbers allowing for greater levels of structured time off.
SIPTU advised it also required a significant increase in existing pay, however LGMA has replied that under the current national pay agreement, it cannot consider sectoral or grade-based pay and conditions claims during the lifetime of the ‘Building Momentum’ agreement. It said it wished to continue the engagement through the mediator as its position would always be for constructive engagement with all stakeholders on any pay dispute.