West Midlands - trade dispute

Circular: 2018HOC0474AD

Dear Brother / Sister


At its meeting on Thursday 20 September 2018, the Executive Council considered the collective agreements that have been agreed between West Midland Fire Service and the Fire Brigades Union which are the culmination of the discussions to resolve the trade dispute registered on 11 April 2018.

Those agreements had already been considered by the West Midlands FBU Brigade Committee in order that its opinion could inform the Executive Council’s decision-making. The Brigade Committee had welcomed the documentation and were of the view that the agreements could be considered as a settlement of the trade dispute.

The Executive Council’s view concurred with that of the Brigade Committee. As a consequence, the trade dispute is now considered resolved.

Members across the UK will recall that the dispute consisted of a number of elements; the most poignant being alterations to the contracts offered to new entrants which created an obligation on those new entrants to do new work activity - i.e the kind of work activity which is the subject of national negotiations in relation to pay. Some of those alterations had not been agreed with the Fire Brigades Union.

The ballot of West Midland members resulted in a 90% “yes” vote for strike action on an 82% turnout.

Periods of strike action were called, but were cancelled in recognition of extremely good progress through the NJC processes being made in the early stages, with a management team which had rolled its sleeves up and was genuinely committed to look afresh at its policies and decisions. That progress has continued throughout, with the consequence being that the trade dispute was resolved without strike action having to take place. 

This is clearly a welcome outcome. The Executive Council was very clear in recognising this success as a testament to the tenacity and solidarity of our West Midlands members and officials.

Yours fraternally,

Assistant General Secretary


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