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Industrial action ballot for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service

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Merseyside Fire Brigade Union members poised to take a stand

In a recent development, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has confirmed that the ballot for industrial action for its Merseyside members is now underway.

The ballot comes in the wake of a six-month-long dispute, where the union has opposed changes to terms and conditions of service.

In particular, the union is resisting reductions in night-time staffing in the Fire Control department of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

The union stated: “FBU members will not stand by as our nationally agreed terms and conditions of service are attacked and eroded.”

It accuses Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service employers of trying to bypass discussions about these changes to the conditions of service.

Industrial action in Merseyside: voting patterns expected to impact overland response

Merseyside Fire Control members have been urged to vote for strike action.

This is in response to the imposed reduction in night-time staffing numbers and a shift system that, according to the FBU, was never open to negotiation.

Frontline firefighters and Green Book employees in Merseyside are also being encouraged to vote for a continued overtime ban, in response to what the union describes as “continued attacks on members’ terms and conditions of service.”

Ballot papers need to be returned by post before 21st August 2023.

The message from the FBU is clear: “We will not be silenced. Vote YES for industrial action in Merseyside.”

Merseyside’s potential changes sparking union backlash

The Fire Brigades Union is opposing a number of proposed changes by the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

These include a reduction in night-time staffing numbers in the Fire Control Room from the agreed level of six to five.

The introduction of new duty shift systems is also being contested, particularly because it may require new firefighters to work both wholetime and retained, and may breach nationally agreed terms in relation to overtime rates of pay.

The union is also concerned about apprentices being required to work outside of core hours for training and other activities, as well as the expansion of the firefighter role without agreement.

All FBU Merseyside members, including frontline firefighters, fire control staff, and Green Book members, are eligible to vote.

IFSJ Comment

The potential industrial action in Merseyside underscores the ongoing tensions between firefighting services and their personnel across the UK.

It further highlights the importance of maintaining dialogue and negotiation in managing change within such critical services, given the potential impacts on overland response times.

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