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MILLENNIUM STAFF TOLD: IT'S NOT YOUR PARTY

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Wiltshire's firefighters are highlighted in a full page feature in The Observer (Business section, p5) on the effor...
Wiltshire's firefighters are highlighted in a full page feature in The Observer (Business section, p5) on the efforts of employers - and the industrial relations problems - to staff the millennium party

weekend, from emergency and public services, the computing and banking industry, and hotel and catering industries.

Most fire brigades are starting to cancel all leave. In Wiltshire, Berni Beachgood, regional secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: 'It's panic, manic management. It's an autocratic decision by the chief fire officer - no discussion, no negotiation. He's broken the conditions of service. We're now in official dispute over it'. In London, the Metropolitan Police Federation warns the insistence that

every officer be on duty every day from 31 December 1999 to 3 January 2000 could cause problems with the new European working time directive.

Then there is the cost of overtime pay. NHS managers have recently made a plea to government for extra cash to pay the millennium wage bill, reckoned to be around£100m.
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