This article is from the July 2004 edition of Socialist Voice

Firefighters may strike in August

FIREFIGHTERS HAVE decided to ballot for industrial action over the continued refusal of the employers to implement pay rises that were agreed in June 2003, as part of the settlement to the long running pay dispute.

By Tony Maguire Northern Ireland Regional Secretary FBU

Under the 2003 agreement, firefighters are due to receive a 4.2% rise at the beginning of July. Over recent months it has been clear that the employers, backed by the Government, have been trying to renege on this deal. They have come up with new "conditions" including proposed changes to work practices during night shifts and on public holidays which were not part of the original agreement.

Their latest proposal would mean that there would be normal working arrangements on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and every other public holiday.

Firefighters are rightly angered at what they see as double dealing and continual moving of the goalposts by the employers and the government. We believe that elements in New Labour are doing their utmost to wreck last year's inflation busting pay deal.

The FBU Conference passed an emergency motion from the Nottinghamshire Brigade calling for a ballot for discontinuous industrial action if the employers don't deliver the rises due under the 2003 agreement, including 3.5% outstanding from November 2003 and the 4.2% due in July.

This action would start in August. The conference also agreed that, if there were any attempt to impose a deal there would be an immediate ballot for discontinuous national strike action.

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