>> 14 October 2013
Former Vice-Convener of Grampian Fire & Rescue Service Joint Board Cllr Stephen Smith is urging the UK Government to follow the lead set in Scotland in reaching a deal with fire fighters and so avoiding strike action north of the border.
The Peterhead South & Cruden SNP councillor welcomed the announcement by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) that their members in Scotland had voted to accept the terms of a Scottish Government offer on pensions.
The agreement is in stark contrast to other parts of the UK where strike action has been taken by FBU members.
However, Cllr Smith warns that the deal in Scotland does not cover reserved issues which remain under the control of the UK Government. Because of that, fire fighters across all roles and jobs could face significant detrimental changes to their pensions.
Commenting, Cllr Stephen Smith said:
“The vote to accept the offer in Scotland demonstrates the constructive partnership that exists between the FBU and the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service.
“There is a guarantee in place that there will be no compulsory redundancies as well as a commitment that there will be no mutualisation or privatisation of the Fire Service in Scotland.
“Despite continued budget cuts from Westminster, the Scottish Government has been able to protect frontline services and can now look forward to working in partnership with the FBU.
“I now call on the UK Government to act in a way that ensures fire fighters in other parts of the UK are not disadvantaged from their Scottish counterparts. It is important that outstanding issues in their dispute with the FBU are addressed.”