Essex firefighters call off potential strikes

OFFICIALS are set to get back around the negotiating table to thrash out a deal which could bring an end to the threat of a firefighter strike in Essex. At 9pm on Thursday evening (April 29), union reps from the county s stations agreed to a temporary sus

OFFICIALS are set to get back around the negotiating table to thrash out a deal which could bring an end to the threat of a firefighter strike in Essex.

At 9pm on Thursday evening (April 29), union reps from the county's stations agreed to a temporary suspension of industrial action for 21 days allowing negotiators time to bottom-out a deal with fire chiefs.

If agreed the long-running dispute could finally come to an end.

FBU general secretary, Matt Wrack, supported recommendations by issuing a circular to all Essex FBU members to immediately suspend their industrial action.

Fire crews and officers have been taking industrial action short of strike for over eight months in a dispute about cuts in the frontline and 999-services.

Recent talks saw both sides close to making a deal, but that was scuppered 10 days ago when it was called off in the eleventh hour.

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Essex FBU secretary Keith Flynn said: "It's now in the hands of both sides' negotiators to seize this window of opportunity to iron-out the final details for a potential settlement.

"However, if we are unable to deliver acceptable terms - in sufficient detail - then the window may close and industrial action may resume."

Union reps shall reconvene on May 13 to review negotiations and the temporary suspension of industrial action.