A statement from Unison's NEC said:
'We call on the government to resolve the current dispute by making real investment available now, and condemn those within the government who see the dispute as a way of taking on public sector trade unions. Confrontation with public sector workers cannot be the way forward for a Labour government. It will not lead to the improvements in our public services which we all seek.
'The NEC welcomes the decision by the FBU executive to take part in exploratory talks with ACAS to look at a mechanism for a positive way forward. We call on the government and the employers' side to use this opportunity to find a settlement agreeable to all parties concerned.'
Meanwhile, Unison's Scottish Council, comprising representatives from all the unions 100 plus Scottish branches will meet tomorrow and will consider a motion pledging support for the firefighters. The motion is supported by the union's Scottish committee and follows a decision by the unions NEC to back the FBU last Wednesday. T
Matt Smith, Unison's Scottish secretary said:
'Unison condemns those in the government who are using this
dispute as a way of taking on public sector unions, and sections of the
press who seek to demonise firefighters and their representatives. We
welcome the FBU's decision to talk to ACAS to try and find a way to resolve
the dispute, and call on the goverrnment to find the extra investment to
Unison is also angry that the Bain report has recommended joint control
rooms and training firefighters as paramedics, said Mr Smith.
'Ambulances carry fire extinguishers - that does not make them
fireengines any more than carrying resuscitation equipment makes a fire
engine an ambulance. Ill-informed attempts to blur the roles between
emergency service personnel and suggestions of joint emergency control
rooms, will not help to improve services. Unison wants modern and effective
public services. In particular services that have sufficient, properly
trained staff to provide them. Sir George Bain's report does not deliver
The Unison motion calls for a substantial donation to the FBU, for Unison
branches to visit FBU picket lines asexpressions of solidarity and for
risk assessments to be carried out in Unison workplaces on strike days.