Merseyside fire crews threaten industrial action over 'frontline cuts'
Merseyside fire crews have given their fire authority seven days notice that they will start balloting for industrial action short of a strike because of the failure to withdraw a cuts package.
The fire authority has seven days to re-consider or the ballot will commence on November 23.
The cuts involve the loss of up to 104 frontline firefighter posts. 36 of those firefighter posts would be moved to non-operational work, typically office based work on support staff pay and conditions.
The authority has also extended the use of the controversial staffing system at Eccleston fire station which means longer response times, extended working hours and the loss of firefighter posts in breach of an agreement to seek the involvement of ACAS.
Potential strike action over the sacking of union official Kevin Hughes has been halted.
The fire authority agreed it would honour any employment tribunal decision to re-employ Mr Hughes if it found he was unfairly dismissed.
It would also consider re-employment in the event of an unfair dismissal ruling even if a tribunal did not order it.
Les Skarratts, Merseyside FBU brigade secretary said: “These are real cuts to the number of frontline firefighters in Merseyside which will impact on how we respond to 999 emergencies.
"It will mean fewer firefighters spread more thinly taking longer to get to incidents.
“There have been relentless cuts on Merseyside which have already had a real impact on the number of frontline firefighters we have to crew fire engines and attend 999 emergencies.
"Our ballot is to protect the fire service, all we are doing is responding to attacks on the frontline fire crews which provide that service.
“We’d like the fire authority to reconsider. At this stage there is no sign of that and we will therefore have no option but to ballot for industrial action short of a strike.” THE GLOBE