ESSEX, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - June 22, 2012) - A team from the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) is in Essex on Monday 25 June. The team will first meet with senior fire service managers.
This team will then move on to a separate location to meet with representatives of the Fire Brigades Union and any developments will be reviewed.
Moves to resolve the Essex dispute have been frustrated by buck passing between the fire service, represented by senior managers, and the fire authority represented by councillors. It is the fire authority which is the employer of Essex fire crews and they have the legal responsibilities which go with that.
The Fire Brigades Union has been unable to get fire service managers and the fire authority employers in the same room at the same time to meet the union. Fire service managers regularly tell the union they cannot make a deal because, on some key issues, they do not have the power to do so.
The chief officer has confirmed that councillors and the national fire service conciliators are still blocked from attending talks proposed by the union. He has also made plain that the frontline cuts and impositions in dispute will continue regardless of any talks.
Adrian Clarke, FBU regional secretary said: "There are separate meetings with ACAS on Monday and we will review any developments or progress. But it has been confirmed to us that top fire authority councillors and national fire service conciliators continue to be barred from attending.
"The key to resolving the dispute is getting the right people in the room at the same time. The only way of breaking the stalemate is to ensure those doing the negotiations have the power to broker a deal.
"The cuts and impositions continue while the fire authority only offers talks with managers without the powers to make a deal. It is little wonder that Essex fire crews are deeply angry and frustrated at the lack of progress.
"Essex fire authority is signed up to a process that encourages the use of national fire service conciliators, some of whom represent the authority as employers. Essex fire service managers, who are not the employers, remain determined to work outside this agreed process.
"Essex firefighters do not relish strike action. But our attempts to broker an agreement or get talks with the key parties who have the power to reach a deal have been confounded."