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Fire Service (Dispute)

Volume 941: debated on Wednesday 14 December 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) why, as a means of resolving the firemen's dispute, he will not arrange for them to receive tax free transport or allowances to and from their homes and place of work on a similar basis to that enjoyed by senior civil servants, Ministers, including junior Ministers, and Members of the House of Lords;(2) why he will not agree to a tax-tree attendance allowance payable to firemen on a similar basis as paid to the House of Lords, as a means of resolving the firemen's dispute;(3) why he will not attempt to resolve the firemen's industrial dispute by advising the offer of the same wages and conditions as apply to the Ford fire-fighting forces; and what actual percentage increase in salaries would result from such a settlement;(4) why he will not, as a means of resolving the firemen's dispute, suggest paying a tax-free attendance allowance such as is paid to members of the House of Lords but only at 50 per cent. of that received by peers;(5) in view of the fact that Governments for the past 10 years have failed to carry out recommendations of committees of inquiry on wages and working conditions, what guarantees he has given, or will give, to the firemen on strike that if they return to work the Government will honour any agreements made.

I refer my hon. Friend to the statement which I made on 8th December—[Vol. 940, c. 1651–60]—setting out the guidance which I have given to the National Joint Council. Agreement within the framework which I have described underwritten by the Government, will provide a sound means of settling the proper remuneration of the Fire Service for many years to come.