Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Wednesday, 9 July 2008 13:22 UK

Fire union's strike ballot threat

London's fire union is warning it may ballot members for strike action after it claimed bosses cancelled pay talks.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and bosses had been due to discuss changes which will lead to cuts of up to 2,000-a-year for watch managers.

FBU spokesman Joe MacVeigh said: "If top managers continue to refuse to resolve this issue, then an industrial action ballot is inevitable."

But London Fire Brigade denied that Friday's meeting had been cancelled.

A spokesman said: "The meeting on Friday has been arranged to discuss an issue that has already been agreed nationally and which forms part of the 2003 firefighter pay settlement.

"It has not been cancelled by London Fire Brigade.

"LFB officers have been told that a large lobby has been organised to attend this first meeting and have stated that this is completely inappropriate at this stage and not acceptable on the basis that normal service will be disrupted."

To abruptly cancel talks aimed at resolving the matter is insulting and highly provocative
FBU's Joe MacVeigh

The FBU's executive has already approved a full scale industrial action ballot in London if a local agreement is not reached.

Mr MacVeigh said: "It is simply not acceptable to force pay cuts of up to 2,000 on fire service watch managers.

"The minimum national terms can be improved at local level and many other fire authorities have done so.

"To abruptly cancel talks aimed at resolving the matter is insulting and highly provocative.

"We'll still be attending the talks we agreed to. If top managers continue to refuse to resolve this issue, then an industrial action ballot is inevitable."

He added that FBU leaders would still turn up for the talks and demand they go ahead.


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific