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FIRE PAY - EMPLOYERS READY TO SEAL THE DEAL AND RELEASE OUTSTANDING 3.5% PAY RISE

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National fire service employers moved closer to sealing agreement with the FBU on night time working time today. If...
National fire service employers moved closer to sealing agreement with the FBU on night time working time today. If the FBU now agrees to meet and ratify the agreement in the near future the employers will release the outstanding 3.5%, backdated to November 2003, once the deal is sealed.

In a letter to FBU general secretary, Andy Gilchrist, the employers endorsed the form of words covering work and rest periods for fire fighters between the hours of midnight and 07.00 during a typical 15-hour night shift. In a positive response to a new union demand the employers also agreed to include the agreed form of words in an explanatory note within an appendix inside the Grey Book - the national agreement that covers the terms and conditions for fire fighters.

However, the employers rejected the FBU's other new demand that the agreed form of words be adapted to cover public holidays for the whole time fire fighters are on duty on those days. This is because such an agreement would mean fire fighters would be paid double time, have a day off in lieu of their missed public holiday, and expect to do no work other than respond to emergencies on those eight days a year. The employers feel that fire fighters are fairly compensated for missing public holidays already and that these should be worked as any other normal working day as in many other public services.

Christina Jebb, who chairs the employers' side in the national pay talks with the FBU, says:

'We have now reached a point where both sides in the talks agree on rest periods during night shifts. The ball is now in the FBU's court. We have written to them today to confirm that the employers endorse the agreed form of wording and that we are willing to include these words within the Grey Book - the national agreement that covers the terms and conditions for fire fighters. They have been invited to meet us as soon as possible to ratify the agreement. Once that has happened the employers will immediately release the outstandi ng 3.5%, backdated to November 2003, into fire fighters pay packets.'

Notes

1.The fire employers represent fire authorities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

2.The agreed form of words is set out below:

'Where the shift duty system at Section 4 Part A paragraph 7 of the Grey Book continues to operate employees on that system should be allowed to take rest periods between midnight and 07.00 other than on those occasion where they are required to respond to emergency calls, perform work arising from emergency calls or perform other essential activities that:

(1)arise from the Integrated Risk Management Plan

(2)arise within the employees' role and responsibilities

(3)are appropriate during these hours.'

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