Employers urge union to sign on dotted line: on going to press the Fire Brigades Union was intent on balloting for industrial action in a dispute over payment of the 3.5 per cent pay rise. Cllr Christina Jebb, the Local Government Association representative who chairs the employers' side in the national pay talks, explains the issues.(LGA Comment)

As a result of the June 2003 agreement between the employers and the union a pay formula that was failing to deliver the goods for firefighters was ditched. Firefighters around the country gained as a consequence--they did not lose. But the employers expect something in return for a substantial phased-in 16 per cent pay rise that will raise a competent firefighter's salary to 25,000 [pounds sterling]. It is not reasonable to expect to carry on doing only the same things as before.

The agreement also presented the opportunity for fire authorities to modernise by creating the flexibility for them to deploy their resources in a way that matched local requirements, along with flexibility in conditions of service in order to achieve this aim. …

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