Firefighters and 999 control staff in Essex are set to strike for a second time over a radically changed shift system, working conditions and cuts.
The strike, beginning 18:00 on 1 March until 9:00 on 2 March, comes a month after firefighters and control staff in Essex last took strike action as part of the local dispute.
An increasing number of members have felt the effects of the imposed, unworkable shift system with even more being forced out of full time employment and having to reduce their hours to be able to care for children and families.
All of this despite the fact that FBU negotiators found compromise solutions that would achieve the savings the local fire service wants to make, whilst at the same time providing more efficient workloads.
Alan Chinn-Shaw, secretary of the FBU in Essex, said: “This situation isn’t going away, it’s only getting worse. We have seen members of our emergency control staff forced out of full time employment and even more are having to seriously consider it.
“The service and fire authority need to realise the decisions they are making are having an incredibly detrimental effect on the lives of their employees, the same people who provide a fantastic service to the public of Essex.
“Firefighters and control staff need their genuine concerns to be considered when any further changes are implemented in the service. Up until now managers haven’t exhibited any behaviour that suggests they will be”.
The service wrote to the union on Tuesday evening suggesting amending or cancelling the strike. In reply the union have offered to meet Essex fire service negotiators today and over the weekend to attempt to reach a position whereby the strike could be averted.
Essex County Fire and Rescue Authority plan to cut at least 179 firefighters and control staff resulting in a 20% reduction in full time uniformed firefighters.