No end in sight for fire dispute

FIREFIGHTERS look set to go out on strike again tomorrow after the latest talks failed to end the dispute.Fire Brigades Union bosses met with Suffolk County Council yesterday – but both sides emerged from the talks no closer to solving the dispute that has led to strike action.

FIREFIGHTERS look set to go out on strike again tomorrow after the latest talks failed to end the dispute.

Fire Brigades Union bosses met with Suffolk County Council yesterday - but both sides emerged from the talks no closer to solving the dispute that has led to strike action.

The meeting, held in Ipswich, followed three strikes called by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in protest at the council's plan to axe 12 posts responsible for crewing the turntable ladder in Bury St Edmunds.

During the talks, the council - which has insisted only three actual jobs would be lost in the shake-up - took FBU members through a detailed health and safety risk assessment about the plan.


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The council also claimed the proposal would cut the risk to the community by improving staffing at rural stations - seven of which were out of action or under-crewed yesterday.

After the meeting, Joanna Spicer, the council's portfolio holder for public protection, said it was important to establish a dialogue between the two sides of the dispute.

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"It was a very good atmosphere and a cordial meeting. They've made their position quite clear about the 12 posts that were dedicated to the turntable ladder, but we did agree that we would keep the dialogue open," she said.

"They are very clear that they will accept nothing less than the reinstatement of those 12 posts, but the fact that we're redeploying nine of those posts should not be lost."

When asked if the meeting had brought the two sides closer to an agreement, Mrs Spicer said: "I don't know about the word closer.

"I just would reiterate that it was a constructive, good meeting with a good atmosphere. It was a recognition of our different positions."

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