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WAIT FOR REVIEW, LOCAL GOVERNMENT MINISTER TELLS FIREFIGHTERS

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Firefighters should get more money but they should wait for the outcome of...
Firefighters should get more money but they should wait for the outcome of

the independent pay review instead of striking, local government minister

Nick Raynsford said this morning.

'I sincerely hope the union will have second thoughts', he told BBC Radio

Four's Today programme. 'This strike is totally unnecessary. There is an

alternative mechanism already in place to resolve it - an independent review

which is looking into all the issues relating to firefighters' pay and the

organisation of the fire service.

'It is simply not justified to put people's lives at risk by taking strike

action when there is this alternative in place'.

Mr Raysnford acknowledged the firefighters have public support. 'I too

myself have the greatest of sympathy for firefighters and believe that they

should have a fair pay deal', he said. 'But the 40 per cent claim is simply

not realistic'.

Some deep-level London underground stations may have to close for safety

reasons if the strike goes ahead, but otherwise there is no reason why

underground, rail and Channel tunnel services should be affected, he said.

There is already a TUC code of practice by which public services agree to

end any industrial action in the event of a major disaster. 'The TUC general

council is meeting tomorrow. I hope Andy Gilchrist will be able to confirm

to the TUC that his union will act in conformity with that code', the

minister said.

FBU PREPARED TO DISCUSS CONTINGENCY PLANS

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