Striking firefighters in Essex will not be paid during New Years Eve action, fire chief says (From Thurrock Gazette)
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Striking firefighters in Essex will not be paid during New Years Eve action, fire chief says
STRIKING firefighters in Essex say a decision to not pay officers on New Year’s Eve will put residents at greater risk.
Chief fire officer David Johnson has told the county’s Fire Brigades Union members they will not receive partial performance pay when they walk out for six hours on December 31.
Industrial action was planned for between 6.30pm and 12.30am in an ongoing pensions dispute.
Normally officers are only deducted pay for the hours they strike.
However this time they will receive no pay for the entire 6pm to 9am night shift or be offered a lieu day for working on a Bank Holiday.
Although firefighters will not be locked out of their stations, Essex Fire chiefs said the strikers will not be required to work after 12.30am.
Essex FBU branch chairman Alan Chinn-Shaw said: “We are very disappointed by the decision.
“This is in effect lengthening the night’s industrial actions and therefore lengthening the period of time that the public are exposed to risk with less appliances operating.
“Before this our issues have been between us and the Government, but this will now make it a more local dispute.”
Mr Johnson said the timing of the strikes were “deliberately antagonistic” and despite respecting the industrial action is legal, he feels the decision not to pay officers is justified.
He said: “It is disappointing that the strike periods appear to have been deliberately chosen to allow striking employees to claim double time for working the Bank Holiday period and accrue time off in lieu while the Service has to meet the additional cost and inconvenience of ensuring contingency services for the public.
“We recognise our firefighters are subject to an agenda being set by national FBU officials, but the timing of the latest strikes does not demonstrate any level of goodwill to the public.”
A five hour strike will also take place on Christmas Eve from 7pm.
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