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PAY RISE FOR FIRE FIGHTERS

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Fire service workers will receive details of a new job structure thrashed out between the Fire Brigades Union and l...
Fire service workers will receive details of a new job structure thrashed out between the Fire Brigades Union and local authority employers. The new structure will see pay rises ranging from 7% to 13.74% in the fire service from 7 November.

All fire fighters and emergency fire control staff will receive a minimum of 7% on basic pay from November. Emergency fire control staff will also receive an additional 3.2 % backdated to November 2002 as part of a job evaluation exercise.

Retained fire fighters - the on-call staff in rural areas who make up a third of the operational fire service - will receive rises averaging 13.74%. This gives them pay parity with full time fire fighters and may address the chronic shortage of retained fire fighters where one in five posts are unfilled.

The increases are linked to the introduction of a revolutionary new structure within the fire service called the Integrated Personnel Development System. This sweeps away the decades old rank structure - based on a military model - and introduces a skills based and more flexible role structure.

If the package is formally agreed the union will lift its overtime ban which has been in place for 30 years. Overtime will not be worked to cover pre-planned staff shortages. Basic overtime pay will be paid at one and a half times the standard rate.

The new deal would allow for locally agreed changes to shift and duty systems to come on stream from 7 November.

FBU general secretary, Andy Gilchrist, said: 'This is the fruit of months of daily talks and the results are revolutionary. The new structure sweeps away the old military style approach and introduces a more flexible and non-discriminatory structure.

'In future people would qualify much faster and receive proper training for their new roles with pay to match. I am sure FBU members will look very carefully and make up their own minds.

'I hope what we are seeing are the first shoots of goodwill and trust returnin g to the fire service after the long dispute. It is important that we move on from the aftermath of the dispute and this is a positive sign that we are.

'There is still some work to be done but we have moved well down the road of change very rapidly. We will continue to play a critical and constructive role that keeps public and fire fighter safety at the heart of that change.'

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