West Midland firefighters vote to strike

Fire crews vote for strike action West Midlands firefighters have voted in favour of strike action over changes to their shift system.

Submitted by Steven. on November 5, 2005

More than 2,000 FBU members took part in a ballot last month which had a majority of three to one in favour of action, however dates have not yet been set for the walk outs.

West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service has been liaising with the Army to provide emergency cover.

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) secretary Peter Gallagher said firefighters were unhappy with changes to the system which had been introduced without negotiation.

He said there were three issues - changes to annual leave, travelling expenses and compensation for finishing a shift at midnight.

"Members are having to do an extra shift per week. As well as having a home station they are also having to do a shift at a different station which is often quite a distance away," he said.

A joint team of the army, RAF and navy will provide emergency cover during the strike using red fire engines.

Team leader Brigadier Chris Murray said: "It needs to be recognised the military is not a replacement fire service and we cannot match the professionalism , skills and capability of the full-time firefighters."