safety will be put at risk by firefighters and emergency fire
control staff taking industrial action. Nick Raynsford, fire
service minister, called the FBU to ask for an urgent meeting
Ruth Winters, yesterday. The meeting was called to
discuss the issue of safety during the fire service strikes.
Mr Gilchrist said:
'Finally, after six months, the government has realised it now has a major problem. Today, Nick Raynsford was attempting to morally
blackmail FBU members by stating that his contingency plans are
wholly inadequate. The FBU informed Mr Raynsford that there
is no need for these strikes to take place and rather than talk
about public safety, he should sit down with the Fire Brigades
Union and resolve the issue of pay.
'It is unacceptable for professional firefighters to continue
to risk their lives for the public of this country when they
are only being paid£21,531 per year. We now have seven days
to sit down and resolve this dispute. If the government really
cares about public safety they will use these seven days to
discuss the issue of pay with the Fire Brigades Union and not
the issue of safety. No FBU member wants to take strike
action, but they are all determined to get a professional
salary for the professional job they do.'