SCOTTISH PAY OFFER FOR BROADENING THE ROLE OF THE SCOTTISH FIRE & RESCUE SERVICE
Members will be aware that negotiations have continued with representatives of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) following their original proposal in relation to the broadening of the role of a firefighter. Previous All Members circulars have dealt with the areas of concern raised by the FBU and why that June proposal was clearly and strongly opposed by FBU members across Scotland.
The 3 December 2019 All Members circular 2019HOC0621MW ‘Pay Discussions: Scotland’ outlines those concerns in detail and the current position of FBU members in Scotland.
As detailed in the 3 December 2019 circular the Union is in receipt of a further revised document from the SFRS. The Executive Council met 17 December 2019 to consider the revised document and whilst it was acknowledged by the Executive Council that there had been improvements made to the original document, in order to address some of the concerns raised by FBU members in Scotland, the Executive Council believed that there are still areas of concern, previously identified, that remain.
The Scottish Regional Committee met 18 December to discuss the proposal in detail. This meeting was attended by the FBU President Ian Murray and National Officer Mark Rowe. The Committee discussed the document and also acknowledged that whilst it was clear that in some areas improvement had been made, that it was also clear that in other areas the concerns previously raised by FBU members in Scotland had not been addressed to the satisfaction of the Regional Committee.
The Scottish Regional Committee discussed the issue of whether the remuneration offered for broadening the role, in respect of the additional duties that would be required, was sufficient. The Regional Committee following discussion did not believe that the remuneration was sufficient for additional duties that would include:
Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA)
Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest + (OHCA+)
Response to Terrorist Activity
Safe and Well
Slips Trips and Falls
Concerns were also raised by the Regional Committee in relation to the loss of existing Additional Responsibility Allowances (ARA) currently paid for undertaking water rescue and line rescue.
The Regional Committee also identified serious concerns in relation to Slips Trips and Falls acknowledging that the negotiating team had previously asked for this to be removed from the proposal. Not only was it not removed but the proposal has changed from what was originally described as signposting to a full mobilisation to Slips Trips and Falls. These mobilisations would be following requests from other organisations, including health and social care partners. Additionally, there are major concerns around capacity, i.e. how this could negatively impact on the maintenance of existing core skills, e.g. breathing apparatus training and emergency call handling demands etc.
The Regional Committee acknowledged that the proposal does identify timescales for continued discussion for the implementation through agreement of Safe and Well (1 April 2020), Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest + (1 April 2021) and Slips Trips and Falls (1 April 2021) but the Committee viewed this as problematic in the respect that the proposal is clear that if agreement cannot be reached:
“…. after using the internal and external mechanisms available to both parties there is no resolution to any dispute or disagreement in relation to any aspect of the policies or procedures, then the whole Collective Agreement will be deemed to have failed. At that point, the increase in basic pay levels paid as part of this Collective Agreement will cease with immediate effect and all staff who are covered by this Collective Agreement will revert to the NJC pay scales and role maps that exist at the time that this Collective Agreement is deemed to have failed. The SFRS will not seek to recoup or require repayment of the increase in basic pay received up to the date when this Collective Agreement is deemed to have failed.”
After full consideration, discussion and debate in relation to all aspects of the proposal, the Scottish Regional Committee agreed that in its current form the proposal was not acceptable and therefore the decision of the Scottish Regional Committee was to recommend rejection of the proposal.
The Executive Council’s position had also been a recommendation for rejection of the proposal in its current form.
The FBU remains willing to engage in further negotiations with the SFRS to reach a position whereby we can recommend acceptance of the proposal to our members.
The FBU will be commencing meetings throughout Scotland to fully update and consult with members through the structures. This will be followed by a consultative ballot of FBU members in Scotland in relation to the proposal, this will be a consultative ballot to member’s home addresses. A further All Members circular will be issued informing members of the timescales for the consultative ballot of our members in Scotland.
Full details of the current SFRS proposal can be found on the FBU National Website www.fbu.org.uk