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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 July, 2004, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Deal expected to halt fire strike
Firefighters on strike over pay
Strikes were planned for September
A deal to end the firefighters' dispute is expected to be signed on Monday, after talks between union leaders and employers broke the deadlock over pay.

The Fire Brigades Union had threatened a ballot for industrial action if the row was not resolved by Saturday.

The dispute flared up following a hitch to the agreement that ended a series of strikes in 2002 and 2003.

But a deal is now expected to free up a 3.5% rise outstanding since November and a further 4.2% owed since 1 July.

On Thursday, during talks at the TUC headquarters in London, chaired by its general secretary Brendan Barber, the FBU and employers reached an agreement on the issue of "stand down time" during night shifts.

That related to whether firefighters should have to undertake training or other duties while waiting for a call out.

A deal can now be signed as soon as disciplinary and grievance procedures are finalised.

We all want a negotiated solution, and we are well on track for that
Senior FBU source

A senior FBU source said: "There has been excellent progress, and we are now five days away from securing an agreement.

"We all want a negotiated solution, and we are well on track for that.

"The TUC has been instrumental in helping both sides make progress."

Previous proposed deals had been "wrecked" by government intervention, the source added.

But this time "nothing under discussion involves the need for additional money or savings".

"Both sides are keen to sort this out, draw a line under it and move on," the source added.

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