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Last Updated:  Thursday, 6 March, 2003, 10:14 GMT
Q&A: Fire employers pay offer
Local authority leaders are expected to offer firefighters a 16% pay rise over three years in an effort to settle the pay dispute.

BBC labour affairs correspondent Stephen Cape answers questions about the new offer.

Is this a completely new package being offered by the employers?

I think it is one the Fire Brigades Union will stop and look at very carefully.

The 16% pay deal over three years is no real surprise as the figure has been talked about in the past.

What is interesting is that the local authorities seem to have agreed that after that initial amount of money, a two-year wage formula will follow linked to so-called outside workers' earning.

What about demands made by the firefighters?

Part-time firefighters are to get pay parity with their full-time colleagues.

But the question of fire control staff getting parity still has to be evaluated.

Is the FBU in any position to say no?

They could argue that they are in a position to ratchet things up again if they wanted to by calling further strikes.

But both sides are war-weary and the employers have worked hard to produce this deal.

Unlike the agreement that failed before Christmas, this deal has got the approval of ministers.

What other details will the FBU be considering?

The employers want an end to the overtime ban.

The modernisation agenda will have to be implemented.

My understanding is that this document does not make any mention of job losses and fire station closure which will have to be discussed.

Will the FBU go for it?

It is difficult to tell.

They would be well advised to consider it very seriously which they will probably do.

Let's wait until this morning and Friday when a lot of delegates will see it for the first time at a special conference at the Trade Union Congress.

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