The increasingly bitter public exchanges between parties in the fire service dispute have prompted the Association ...
The increasingly bitter public exchanges between parties in the fire service dispute have prompted the Association of Principal Fire Officers to issue this further position statement.
The association, whose members manage and lead the fire service, have watched with increasing dismay the continual attacks on the professionalism and effectiveness of the fire service.
As APFO has made clear, to both the national employers and the Bain enquiry, the service is not failing nor is it poor performing. There is no question that there is a need for modernisation in terms of the legislation upon which the service is founded, in the working practices of employees and of the policy making and negotiating structures which currently exist. However, modernisation can only be achieved by the constructive engagement of all parties and the recognition that all must play their part in taking the changes forward. The continual denigration of the service, and the denial of the significant progress which has already been achieved is not, we believe, the means by which to build a service of the future. Moreover, speculative calls for job cuts without any explanation or rationale add nothing to the debate. Rather it is a recipe for a demoralised workforce and further disaffection, which can only prolong the conflict.
APFO has committed itself and will continue to make a positive contribution to the current enquiry. However, we would urge all stakeholders to work and act responsibly to develop a fire service of which all of us, employee, employer, government and most importantly the public, can feel rightly proud.
* The Association of Principal Fire Officers (APFO) is the staff association for the principal fire officers of the United Kingdom. The association exists to protect and promote the personal interests and conditions of those employees who manage and lead the fire service.