Merseyside fire strike solid

Firefighters, officers and emergency fire control staff in Merseyside walked out on strike this morning at 0900 hours for a period of 8 consecutive days. The strike is 100 per cent solid across the whole of the area.

Merseyside Chief Fire Officer, Malcolm Saunders, is claiming that the dispute is an equality issue. This is completely false and misleading. The issue is over the Chief Fire Officer and the Merseyside Fire Authority’s refusal to adhere to the decision of the National Fire Service Disputes Panel.

Andy Gilchrist, General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union said: “This is a sad day for Merseyside. Our members have been forced to take strike action in an attempt to stop a rogue Chief Fire Officer from acting contrary to the decisions of the National Fire Service Disputes Panel. The dispute has already been ruled unanimously in the FBU’s favour.

Malcolm Saunders’ attempts to use the equality argument in this dispute are an absolute disgrace; it is the Merseyside Fire Authority who is at fault for the under representation of women and black and ethnic firefighters. The FBU has been fighting for years to achieve proper equality in the Fire Service and this means employing women and black and ethnic firefighters on equal terms and equal contracts.”

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