Strike threat to be dealt strategically
Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has been in a 14-month dispute with the EFA over cuts.
Essex Fire Authority (EFA) has unveiled a new strategy to deal with the threat of strikes. Key members of staff are to be offered "no strikes" contracts which will reward them with higher pay during industrial disputes providing they do not take part. The move is being initiated in anticipation of action by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), which has been in a 14-month dispute with the EFA over cuts.
According to deputy chief fire officer Gordon Hunter, the arrangement would help to ensure that homes, office buildings and industrial units are protected should a strike be called. However, Adrian Clarke, FBU regional secretary, believes it is a sign that the EFA is unwilling to listen to FBU demands. "This latest move is the surest sign yet Essex fire chiefs are planning even bigger cuts in vital 999 services," he commented.
"And now they seem to be gearing up to copy London's fire chiefs, who first wasted tax-payers money on preparing a strike-breaking force." Last week saw a strike planned for Bonfire Night called off by the London firefighters.
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