Cambs firefighters could see pay wiped out during strikes

18:00 27 February 2014

Firefighters extinguished a fire in a bin in Huntingdon High Street yesterday.

Firefighters extinguished a fire in a bin in Huntingdon High Street yesterday.

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The firefighters’ dispute with the Government over pensions would have to “significantly escalate” for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service to start deducting pay for entire shifts, says chief fire officer Graham Stagg.

Industrial action by Fire Brigades Union (FBU) members has cost the service £130,000 and has featured nine walkouts, totalling just over 35 hours.

Up until now, firefighters’ pay has been deducted in line with the amount of time they were on strike.

But Mr Stagg has the power to invoke partial performance, withholding pay for the length of a shift and locking firefighters out of the station.

The issue was discussed on February 14 by members of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority, who agreed that Mr Stagg should consult with the authority’s chairman Sir Peter Brown and political group leaders, or nominated substitutes, before it was instigated.

Mr Stagg said the relationship between the FBU and officers in Cambridgeshire had been good. “Should further action be deemed so unreasonable as to make our contingency arrangements unnecessarily difficult, it might be the wish of this authority to respond by instigating partial performance,” he added. “We all hope this does not occur.”

Fire Authority member Mike Shellens, Lib Dem, said the dispute had been handled with “great maturity” in Cambridgeshire and there was “no passion locally” for using partial performance.

Meanwhile, the FBU’s executive council is due to meet tomorrow (Thursday, February 27) as discussions with the Government continue.

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