LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - July 24, 2012) - There is new hope of a breakthrough in the dispute between Essex fire and Rescue Service and the County's firefighters, the Fire Brigades Union said today.
Following an agreement between FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack and Essex deputy chief fire officer Adam Eckley, planned strikes later this week will be shorter and less money will be deducted from firefighters' pay packets.
The FBU hopes this may lead to constructive talks on the substantive issues in dispute. The agreement has led to informal dialogue which the FBU hopes will lead to early formal talks.
The new agreement means that the two three-hour strikes on Thursday 26 July will now be one four-hour strike. The Essex FRS will only stop the four hours of pay, instead of stopping payment for whole shifts, potentially 24 hours pay.
The strikes for retained crews only on 26 and 27 July are cancelled. The FRS will accept fire crews taking their "999 calls only" protest action on 27 July without stoppage of pay.
The dispute is about frontline cuts and imposed changes.
Keith Handscomb of the FBU said: "I welcome today's developments. We have been a very long way apart, but I have real hope that we can build upon today's agreement with further talks, and that this will be the first step towards a lasting agreement."