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FIRE DISPUTE: NICK RAYNSFORD RESTATES GOVERNMENT POSITION

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Local government minister Nick Raynsford attacked the firefighters' attitude...
Local government minister Nick Raynsford attacked the firefighters' attitude

to modernisation on BBC Radio Four's Today programme this morning.

The firefighters 'have challenged all the proposals coming from the Bain

review, they have rubbished Professor Sir George Bain', Mr Raynsford said.

'They continue to defend working practices that are completely indefensible,

such as bans on joint control rooms, bans on mixed crewing and the overtime

ban. These are not the actions of an organisation that seems keen to

modernise'.

He reiterated the government stance that it was refusing to sign a 'blank

cheque' for the local government employers. 'We felt it was crucial to say

to the employers, which was why John Prescott wrote to them yesterday, that

any settlement in excess of the 4 per cent which was on the table, must be

met from modernisation.

'I certainly believe there is enormous scope, with the change in working

practices, to deliver to firefighters a really significant pay increase

along the lines that Sir George Bain proposed'.

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