Collective Agreement Negotiations

The following Newsletter from the FBU of the U.K.


Dear Brother/Sister,


The National Joint Council met last week (30.09.10) and the Union again placed on the agenda the issue of pay. This was the first opportunity to discuss pay since the employers wrote to the Union stating that they would not be making an offer for 2010. The employers’ stance at the NJC remained unchanged.

This stance was challenged and the employers were reminded of the following:

  • Pay in the Fire Service is not directly determined by government policy, but is determined by voluntary collective bargaining between the FBU and the Fire Service employers.
  • In other words, government restraint has no binding on the Fire & Rescue Service.
  • In any case, the employers have chosen to attack pay in advance of the demands from the government for a pay freeze.
  • Most Fire and Rescue Authorities have budgeted for a pay rise. We estimate that the averaged budgeted figure for 2010 was 1.7%.
  • The employers have specifically rejected any idea of assisting the lower paid within the Service.
  • Despite the employers’ calls for pay restraint on the majority, they continue at local level to grant very significant pay rises to Chief Fire Officers and other principal managers.

We reminded the employers that firefighters have been through a significant period of change over the past 7 years. All the targets met by the Service are achieved by firefighters i.e. by those who deliver our service on the front line. The employers’ stance towards pay demonstrates very clearly that their claims to value the workforce and to want good industrial relations are completely hollow. The FBU rejects entirely the idea that pay restraint will, in some way, assist the economy recover. If anything, such policies are likely to exacerbate the difficulties in the economy rather than resolve them.

The stance on pay appears to reflect a hardening attitude towards industrial relations matters within our Service and obviously this is, in turn, influenced by the wider picture in Public Services. This confrontational approach is likely to produce industrial flashpoints in the coming months.

All Branches are asked to discuss this attack in our pay alongside the other attacks we are likely to face. The timing and scale of our response will be determined through the democratic structures of our Union, and it is essential the views of all Branches are reported to Brigade Committees.

Matt Wrack
General Secretary ”

Media Report and response from the International Firefighters Union.

A hard to believe report of firefighters being asked to let a property burn because of the owner’s failure to pay an annual fee.

Is this a logical final step we could see here in view of, for example, the reduction in turnout to (supposedly) Sprinklered Buildings?

Firefighters Watch as Home Burns to the Ground
Reporter ‐ Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist ‐ Mark Owen
October 05, 2010 ‐‐ : Sep 29, 2010 ‐ Updated: Sep 30, 2010 ‐‐OBION COUNTY, Tenn.

Imagine your home catches fire but the local fire department won't respond, then watches it burn. That's exactly what happened to a local family tonight.

A local neighborhood is furious after firefighters watched as an Obion County, Tennessee, home burned to the ground.

The homeowner, Gene Cranick, said he offered to pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the flames, but was told it was too late. They wouldn't do anything to stop his house from burning.

Each year, Obion County residents must pay $75 if they want fire protection from the city of South Fulton. But the Cranicks did not pay.

The mayor said if homeowners don't pay, they're out of luck.

This fire went on for hours because garden hoses just wouldn't put it out. It wasn't until that fire spread to a neighbor's property that anyone would respond.

Turns out, the neighbor had paid the fee.

"I thought they'd come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75, but I was wrong," said Gene Cranick.

Because of that, not much is left of Cranick's house.

They called 911 several times, and initially the South Fulton Fire Department would not come.

The Cranicks told 9‐1‐1 they would pay firefighters, whatever the cost, to stop the fire before it spread to their house.

"When I called I told them that. My grandson had already called there and he thought that when I got here I could get something done, I couldn't," Paulette Cranick.

It was only when a neighbor's field caught fire, a neighbor who had paid the county fire service fee that the department responded. Gene Cranick asked the fire chief to make an exception and save his home, the chief wouldn't.

We asked him why.

He wouldn't talk to us and called police to have us escorted off the property. Police never came but firefighters quickly left the scene. Meanwhile, the Cranick home continued to burn.

We asked the mayor of South Fulton if the chief could have made an exception.

"Anybody that's not in the city of South Fulton, it's a service we offer, either they accept it or they don't," Mayor David Crocker said.

Friends and neighbors said it's a cruel and dangerous city policy but the Cranicks don't blame the firefighters themselves. They blame the people in charge.

"They're doing their job," Paulette Cranick said of the firefighters. "They're doing what they are told to do. It's not their fault."

To give you an idea of just how intense the feelings got in this situation, soon after the fire department returned to the station, the Obion County Sheriff's Department said someone went there and assaulted one of the firefighters.

© 2009 WPSD‐TV, LLC All Rights Reserved.

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