07 August 2014

Officials at the Fire Brigades Union have expressed their disappointment over Fire Minster Penny Mordaunt’s decision to cancel a meeting to discuss the pension dispute, which had originally been scheduled for today (8th August), one day prior to the start of the next round of strikes planned by firefighters.

The FBU says that having given nine days notice of this action, more than is statutorily required, they were hopeful that the talks arranged for tomorrow might have produced enough movement to allow strike action to be suspended. 

“That opportunity looks now to have been squandered by the government’s decision to cancel the talks,” said the FBU.

Andy Dark, FBU assistant general secretary, said: “We are absolutely astounded that the minister has written to the union today, less than 24 hours before the talks are due to take place, to suggest that the meeting has “fallen”. This is a complete misrepresentation of the fact that the minister has cancelled the meeting. The minister has scuppered an opportunity where there was potential to find a solution that could have meant there would be no need for planned strikes to take place.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government told the BBC: "Once again, the FBU has followed up positive discussions with the fire minister by calling further industrial action the very next day, rather than continue constructive dialogue.

"This is an illogical approach. Strike action serves only to make progress in settling this dispute harder and is unnecessary, counter-productive and at odds with the values of the fire service."

Strikes around the country are due to take place until 16 August, between 12:00-14:00 and 22:59-23:59 BST. See FIA news story.

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