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FBU responds to Annual HMICFRS report


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The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has branded the annual Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) report a ‘Trojan horse’ for attacks on terms and conditions.

The report, produced by Sir Thomas Winsor, claimed there were too many barriers to change in the service in England and pointed to a lack of ‘flexibility’ in working practices.

It also recommended reform to the way pay is negotiated with the introduction of a pay review body and dismantling of the national joint council, the UK body where pay and terms and conditions are negotiated. 

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack, said:  “This report is the latest in a long line of attempts to attack the right of firefighters to be represented by a trade union and to roll back hard-won terms and conditions. Firefighters everywhere will know exactly what the inspectorate means when it recommends ‘reform’ to pay and conditions and will rightly be concerned about what comes next. 

“Granting operational independence to fire chiefs is in reality a Trojan horse for granting independence from appropriate scrutiny and accountability, allowing bosses to draw up and implement unsafe plans or attacks on terms and conditions and to try to limit opposition from their own staff or local communities.

“The ‘barriers’ hampering the work of firefighters are not a lack of power for fire chiefs, but a decade of pay cuts and austerity that sees England with over 9,000 fewer firefighters than in 2010 and a complete refusal from government to invest for the long term. 

“The government’s upcoming white paper on reform to the fire and rescue service looks set to be a declaration of war on the terms and conditions of firefighters and their union dressed up in the language of reform, and sadly the Inspectorate is doing all it can to legitimise it. The government claims it wants to ‘level up’ but attacking workers’ rights as this report proposes will do exactly the opposite.” 

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