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Saturday, 7 December, 2002, 16:02 GMT
Union backs fire strike
Fire strike
Unison is expected to support the fire strike
Public sector union Unison has thrown its weight behind firefighters in their pay dispute.

The union's Scottish council met in Glasgow and agreed a motion pledging support of 15,000 for the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

Delegates from more than 100 branches also agreed to visit picket lines as an expression of solidarity and for risk assessments to be carried out in Unison workplaces on strike days.

The motion was passed unanimously after the Scottish Council heard from Roddie Robertson of the FBU.

FBU picket
Firefighters want a 40% pay increase

Matt Smith, Unison's Scottish secretary, said: "Unison condemns those in the government who are using this dispute as a way of taking on public sector unions, and sections of the press who seek to demonise firefighters and their representatives.

"We welcome the FBU's decision to talk to Acas to try and find a way to resolve the dispute, and call on the government to find the extra investment to end it."

The government-sponsored inquiry into the fire service, headed by Sir George Bain, is due to report around 16 December.

'Not deliver'

Unison is angry that the Bain report has recommended joint control rooms and training firefighters as paramedics.

Two fire strikes have already been held, but a third was suspended while talks are held with conciliation service Acas.

Mr Smith said: "Ambulances carry fire extinguishers - that does not make them fire engines any more than carrying resuscitation equipment makes a fire engine an ambulance.

"Ill-informed attempts to blur the roles between emergency service personnel and suggestions of joint emergency control rooms, will not help to improve services.

"Unison wants modern and effective public services. In particular services that have sufficient, properly trained staff to provide them.

"Sir George Bain's report does not deliver this."


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06 Dec 02 | Scotland
04 Dec 02 | UK
02 Dec 02 | Politics
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