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FIRE DISPUTE: BEECHAM WARNS DELAY COULD HIT PAY

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Firefighters and employers will be meeting today to discuss further the ...
Firefighters and employers will be meeting today to discuss further the

disputed terms in the pay agreement, BBC Radio Four's Today programme

reported this morning.

Jeremy Beecham, chairman of the Local Government Association, told the

programme: 'The union doesn't seem to recognise that part of the agreement

last June involved the revision of the national conditions of service'.

The dispute is over the 'stand down system' during night hours. The

employers argue that conditions of service need to be changed so that

firefighters do some work during stand down, such as training or inspection

of premises like hospitals or the London underground, which can be done at

night.

'We are honouring our side of the deal', Sir Jeremy said. 'The deal requires

there to be agreement on the national conditions. There is this outstanding

matter to be resolved'.

The dispute could mean that the Audit Commission rules there has not been

sufficient progress on modernisation and the new pay scheme will not move

ahead, he warned. 'Any further delay here... could in fact cost the

firefighters money which we want them to have', he said.

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