No barrier to pay claims FBU: in an open letter to chairs of fire authorities/boards and chief fire officers/firemasters, Fire Brigades Union Assistant General Secretary Mike Fordham has set out the union's position.(Comment)

I am aware that you have taken the decision recently to write directly to members of the union, concerning the current situation in respect of the implementation of the NJC Pay and Conditions Agreement 2003, and it is for this reason that I write to you.

Following over a year of detailed negotiations, when considerable progress was made, a National Joint Council meeting was held on August 2, 2004, with a view to reaching an agreement which would allow the payments due to our members under Stages 2 and 3 of the June 03 Agreement. If agreement had been reached, the long-running dispute would have finally been over; our members would have received the payment due to them and the revised Grey Book would have been agreed, giving full and final effect to the matters successfully negotiated between us. …

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