No pay for strikers on New Year's Eve
The Service will withhold pay from striking firefighters on New Year’s Eve.
Members of the FBU taking industrial action may also lose the day off they would ordinarily receive in lieu of working the Bank Holiday shift.
There will be no lock out. But crews leaving the picket line to return to the station at half past midnight on January 1 will not be required to work. Essex County Fire and Rescue Service will be relying on its resilience crews to protect the County throughout the entire 15-hour shift.
Up until now, ECFRS has only withheld pay from striking firefighters for the amount of time they withdrew their labour. But Chief Fire Officer David Johnson says the timing of the latest national industrial action is deliberately antagonistic, designed to put the Service to maximum inconvenience and expense.
“While we respect this is a legitimate, national trade dispute between the FBU and the Government, it is disappointing that the strike periods appear to have been deliberately chosen to allow striking employees to claim double time for working the Bank Holiday period and accrue time off in lieu while the Service has to meet the additional cost and inconvenience of ensuring contingency services for the public,” he said.
“The Service is under no obligation to accept partial performance of contract and as such could refuse to pay striking firefighters for the full shift for each period of strike action and to withhold proportionate time off in lieu. Each strike period is considered on a case by case basis.
“Having given the matter detailed consideration and considering factors such as the additional cost to the taxpayers of Essex to provide contingency arrangements, disruption to our resilience workers and the impact on their family lives, ECFRS' Strategic Management Board has decided this action can be justified for the strike on New Year’s Eve.
“We recognise our firefighters are subject to an agenda being set by national FBU officials, but the timing of the latest strikes does not demonstrate any level of goodwill to the public.
“Essex is in a fortunate position of having extremely strong resilience arrangements in place and we will have appliances at turnout locations throughout the County for all strike periods. The public should continue to dial ‘999’ in an emergency and working crews will attend.”
Strike dates for the Christmas and New Year period which fall on:
December 24, 2013 from 19:00 hours until midnight
December 31, 2013 from 18:30 hours until January 1, 2014, at 00:30 hours
January 3, 2014 from 06:30 hours until 08:30 hours.
The FBU has also announced industrial action short of strike action:
Refusal to undertake voluntary overtime (Control members) - December 24, 2013 from 19:00 hours until midnight
Refusal to undertake voluntary overtime (all firefighter members) December 27, 2013 from 19:00 hours until December 29, 2013 at 19:00 hours.
During periods of reduced fire cover, the public is asked to Be Safer, Be Slower, Be Vigilant. Make sure you check on elderly and vulnerable members of your family and neighbourhood and where possible fit smoke alarms. Continue to dial '999' in emergency and follow our safety advice to keep your family safe. All businesses should follow up on automatic fire alarms with a phone call.