ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2005 – EMERGENCY RESOLUTIONS
Please find attached 2 Emergency Resolutions submitted by the Executive Council to Annual Conference.
Emergency Resolution 1
CONTROL CARe CAMPAIGN
This Conference wholly condemns the proposals by the ODPM to create 9 Regional Emergency Fire Controls in England and the proposals from the Scottish Executive to move from 8 Emergency Fire Control rooms to 3 (or possibly 1) in Scotland. This will result in the loss of approximately 900 staff, the majority of which are women.
Conference recognises the key role Firefighters (Control) undertake in saving life and protecting property and ensuring Firefighters safety at incidents. We further recognise that the regionalisation of Emergency Fire Control rooms affects all our members and our communities.
Conference is concerned that any detrimental changes to mobilising procedures and reductions in staff will result in delays in attendance to emergency incidents, allowing incidents to develop, impacting on the safety of personnel attending incidents and the general public possibly resulting in the deaths of either or both.
We further condemn the ‘cloak & dagger’ secrecy within the ODPM regarding the proposed future sites of the 9 Regional Emergency Fire Control rooms in England.
Conference acknowledges that the ODPM informed the Chairs of the Regional Management Boards of the proposed venues on the 18th March 2005 and immediately forced the Chairs to maintain their secrecy.
Conference believes that the ODPM’s Outline Business Case is factually flawed and leaves many questions unanswered, including:
1) Failure to assess any of the impacts on lives, injuries and property of changes to the current emergency fire control arrangements.
2) Failure to assess a whole range of costs associated with migration to the new system including withdrawal from existing systems and very expensive PFI arrangements and any additional costs to the police and ambulance services linking up with new regional control centres.
3) Failure to quantify all work carried out under the current arrangements and its impact on operational responses. For example the flow of crucial information on the constantly changing status of stations, the numbers on duty and local details of road closures or traffic delays,
Conference re-states its firm belief that the most effective provision of fire cover can only be achieved through the maintenance of the current Fire & Rescue Service Emergency Fire Control rooms.
Conference recognises that the only way savings can be made by regionalising Emergency Fire Control rooms is by reducing staff. Conference understands this means sacking hundreds of our highly skilled members who currently work in Emergency Fire Control rooms.
Therefore, Conference resolves to:
1. Maintain the current political campaign against the regionalisation of Fire Control rooms.
2. Step up the industrial campaign within the membership against the regionalisation of Fire Control rooms.
3. Protect the jobs of our Emergency Fire Control staff by all means possible, including, if necessary, a ballot for industrial action.
Emergency Resolution 2
This conference welcomes the late intervention of the Minister for Work and Pensions Alan Johnson MP on 21 March 2005 to convene a high level meeting of the public sector unions and ministers to discuss the Government’s proposed reforms to public sector pensions and his statement that “all aspects of the Government's proposals will be open to discussion and negotiation.”
However, Conference is concerned that the Minister reaffirmed that the Government was wedded to its proposed reforms to public sector pension schemes.
Conference notes that the proposals have been put forward as part of a wide-ranging attack against public sector pensions and come against a backdrop of a crisis in company schemes as well as a failure by successive UK governments to tackle the poverty-level state pension. Changes to the FPS, as with other public sector schemes, have been on the cards since the early 1980s on the back of tightening public spending and tax cuts.
Conference congratulates the TUC for its efforts at co-ordinating the campaign by public sector unions, which included the lobbies of MPs in November 2004 and February 2005, and a TUC-co-ordinated day of action on 18 February 2005, and congratulates FBU members and officials for participating.
Conference notes that the campaign has helped bring about the Government’s current position of committing to serious negotiations with unions over its proposals, rather than its original haphazard and unprofessional attempt at seeking to impose them.
Conference reaffirms its commitment to protect and improve FBU members’ pensions and calls on the Union to continue its vigorous campaign.
In welcoming the proposed admission of retained firefighters to the FPS, Conference also seeks a further change that would allow firefighters (control) to join the FPS.
In addition, Conference welcomes the proposal to provide survivors’ benefits to unmarried partners in the future but also seeks for this to be extended to current members’ unmarried partners.
Whilst Conference accepts there may be difficulties in organising common action because the timetable for talks will be different for each group of public sector workers, Conference recognises the need to continue to work with other unions through the TUC and to assist in co-ordinating a united campaign and action against the proposals.
Conference agrees that the Executive Council engages in serious discussions and negotiations with the Government to protect and improve FBU members’ pensions. Members will be kept fully informed of those negotiations and if there are detrimental changes proposed at the outcome of negotiations Conference will be recalled.