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BITTER DISAPPOINTMENT AT STRIKE DECISION

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The WLGA today expressed disappointment at the Fire Brigade Union's (FBU) members ...
The WLGA today expressed disappointment at the Fire Brigade Union's (FBU) members decisionto strike.

WLGA leader Harry Jones said:

'I am bitterly disappointed in the results of the ballot. Putting the public's lives at risk makes no sense at all. Fire fighters have already been offered a higher than inflation increase of 4%, as well as our commitment to support the findings of an independent pay review subject to government funding. This is a lose-lose situation - the fire fighters, and most importantly the public, have all to lose through a strike.

'We continue to ask why are the fire fighters intent on this dangerous brinkmanship, when they have the opportunity to contribute to the independent pay review - the results of which they may support?'

Derek Rees (Cardiff), WLGA fire services spokesperson, added:

'I find it implausible that the FBU would seek to bring fire fighters out on strike and consequently put lives at risk, rather than hold off action until the outcome of the independent review is known. I hope that dialogue can be restored and sustained, in order to resolve this dispute.'

'The current pay claims are unaffordable and unrealistic - if all public sector workers were to demand the same increase as fire fighters, it would mean an increase in the basic rate of income tax by 20% or 3.9p in the pound. There is clear agreement from the national employers that fire fighters' salaries should be addressed, which is why the government set up the independent review, however, this needs to be linked to the modernisation of the fire service.'

The WLGA note and welcome the ten-day window before strike action commences. Local authorities will continue to work closely with the UK government, Welsh Assembly Government, police and RAF in preparation for fire service cover during strike days.

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