Thread: UK FFs to talk

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    Default UK FFs to talk

    UK firefighters agree to more talks
    LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Britain's firefighters, preparing
    to stage more national strikes later this month, said they would
    hold further talks with employers on Tuesday to try to resolve a
    long-running and bitter dispute over pay.
    The Fire Brigades Union said it would attend talks at the
    conciliation service ACAS but was not optimistic there would be
    much progress.
    "We are planning talks with them (the employers) but our
    position has not changed," an FBU spokesman told Reuters.
    The Fire Brigade Union last week called fresh strikes for
    January and February after the government ruled out an improved
    pay offer.
    The union is claiming a 40 percent wage rise against a
    government offer of between four and seven percent linked to
    what it calls a modernisation of the service.
    However, the FBU says the planned reforms would lead to
    widespread job cuts and has dismissed the government's review of
    the fire service as "insulting."
    Union leader Andy Gilchrist had said on Sunday there would
    be "no point" attending Tuesday's meeting unless bosses were
    prepared to negotiate.
    "No firefighter wants to be on strike. But we can't go into
    a process which says 'Sit down here, accept four percent, and,
    by the way, accept everything on our agenda'," he said.
    Chairman of the employers' body, the Local Government
    Association, Sir Jeremy Beecham, indicated there was still room
    for negotiation.
    He ruled out compulsory redundancies and hinted that more
    money could be found. He also insisted no formal offer had yet
    been made to firefighters.
    But Gilchrist said the union had been presented with
    "non-negotiable" proposals which amounted to an 11 percent pay
    rise over two years with the loss of 4,500 jobs and the closure
    of 150 fire stations.
    The firefighters launched their first national strike in 25
    years in November last year and staged an eight-day walkout
    later that month, when cover was provided by the military.
    If a breakthrough is not made in the dispute before January
    21 -- the date of the first planned 24-hour strike -- armed
    forces personnel will once again roll out their ageing Green
    Goddess appliances to provide emergency cover.

    Reut23:29 01-13-03
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    What is the status of this situation?

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