The threat of a fresh nationwide strike by firefighters has emerged thanks to a new row over pay. Leaders of the Fire Brigades’ Union will discuss the prospect of a campaign of industrial action at a meeting next month unless the dispute is resolved.
The prospect of walkouts has flared after the failure to resolve a disagreement over the payment of an allowance for firefighters after they reach 15 years of service.
Under the deal which ended the bitter dispute in 2002/3, the long- service award is to be phased out and replaced with a new payment.
The new arrangement will lead to more firefighters receiving money, but the amount they will receive will be reduced from the current pounds 999 to pounds 495.
The FBU claimed that fire authorities across the UK had started to introduce the new system before an agreement had been reached with the union.
Talks have been held in recent weeks to try to achieve a breakthrough but no agreement has been reached.
FBU general secretary Matt Rack said in a circular to members that if a deal was not agreed by December, the union’s executive would discuss a number of options, including a recommendation to launch a campaign for strikes.
‘As always the FBU remains committed to resolving this matter through negotiation. If agreement is not reached then our view will be that the employers have breached the 2003 pay and conditions agreement and the union will need to consider how to react to this.
‘The executive council will consider all options available including the possibility of industrial action,’ said Mr Rack.
The Local Government Association, which represents fire authorities, said constructive discussions were taking place, which employers hoped would solve the dispute.