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Resilience crews will provide cover for entire FBU strike

The Fire Brigades Union has called a series of strikes to take place this week between January 14 and 16 as part of its local dispute.

In the interests of public safety, Essex Fire Authority has decided that on this occasion, it will not accept partial performance and therefore will put its well-rehearsed resilience arrangements in place to cover the entire strike period from 09:00 hrs on January 14 to 18:00 hrs on January 16. This means that firefighters withdrawing their labour for any part of a shift will not be required, or paid, for the whole shift.

The Service will have greater availability with its resilience arrangements in place, than it would under the complicated arrangements set out by the FBU for strike action among various work groups at different times over the three day period.

The strike will not impact ECFRS’ plans for its new Control Centre to go live. That will go ahead on January 14 - a day earlier than originally planned. During the strike, Control staff will be working in the new Kelvedon Park facility operating the new shift pattern.

Members of the public should be reassured that ECFRS will have strong resilience arrangements in place to provide cover across the County. You should continue to dial 999 in an emergency and working Essex crews will attend. Businesses should follow up automatic alarms with a phone call to ensure a response during periods of reduced fire cover.

“It is important that we are absolutely clear that Service Managers have put their best efforts into supporting the principles of the consultation and negotiation framework, but we have to deliver the best solution for ECFRS and the communities of Essex,” said Acting Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley.

“Leaving Control aside, three points of the dispute ask the Service to agree that they will not make changes without the agreement of the FBU, when no change has been decided!” said Acting Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley.

“When we reach the point of having firm intentions and proposals to share, all of our staff will be consulted and that includes representative bodies.

“In relation to Control, the new ways of working were introduced after exhaustive consultation and engagement with those staff involved. The new ways of working were delivered within the Grey Book terms and conditions covering our uniformed staff and without any need for compulsory redundancy.”

Note to Editors:

These are the four points of dispute as set out by FBU National Secretary Matt Wrack in his formal dispute notification to Essex Fire Authority:

1.            The immediate suspension of the changes unilaterally proposed for implementation by SMB to the terms, conditions, and duty systems (including start and finish times) of Emergency Fire Control Staff, and the associated staffing levels for the Emergency Fire Control, with a view to reaching agreement with the FBU, consistent with compromise solutions offered during the negotiations.

2.            There will be no unilateral imposition of changes or variations that detrimentally affect the speed, weight and capacity of emergency response resources currently provided during the day and/or at night by ECFRS. This includes no unilaterally imposed variations in the operational and supervisory staffing levels currently available during the day and/or at night, no alterations to current supervisory roles/responsibilities and no variations in the current duty system crewing status of existing appliances during the day and/or at night. Any such changes/variations will be made only after prior IRMP consultation with the public and subsequent agreement with the FBU achieved through genuine and meaningful consultation and negotiation.

3.            There will be no unilateral imposition of new duty systems for uniformed staff, including changes to start and finish times, or changes to the existing Wholetime Shift System, Day-Duty System, Retained Duty System, Day-crewing Duty System or Flexible Duty System. Any such new duty systems or changes will require prior agreement with the FBU achieved through negotiation with the FBU in accordance with the Grey Book and/or the collectively agreed Essex consultation and negotiation procedures.

4.            There will be no unilateral changes or variations to the existing terms and conditions of any uniformed Grey Book employees. Any such changes/variations will require prior collective agreement with the FBU achieved through negotiation with the FBU in accordance with the Grey Book and/or the collectively agreed Essex consultation and negotiation procedures.

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