Pay deal hangs in the balance.(News)

As FIRE went to press, unofficial strike action spread around the country as 19 Greater Manchester firefighters were suspended for refusing to handle new dimension equipment.

The action followed the FBU's decision to cancel its annual conference as the union and the employers tailed to reach agreement on changes to stand down time at night.

Following the cancellation of the conference, the FBU stated that: "Following 17 hours of detailed negotiation on May 5 and 7, we again wrote to the Employers setting out our position on this matter. We informed them that as the Union had now met all its obligations under the June 2003 Agreement, we expected them to honour their part of the bargain by May 11 and release the 3. …

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