The legal implications of the industrial action by the Fire Brigades Union were kept under review throughout the dispute, including the period before and after the start of the Iraq conflict in March 2003. As indicated by the Solicitor-General on 19 December 2002, Official Report, column 943W, the Attorney-General has the power to apply to the court for an injunction to prevent threatened breaches of the criminal law. It is the Attorney-General’s duty to keep under constant review the question whether to exercise this power.
I have been asked to reply.
Matters relating to the fire service in Wales are devolved to the Welsh Assembly Government.
The three chief fire officers in Wales have advised that none of the fire authorities in Wales have entered into contracts with private sector companies to provide fire cover in the event of industrial action.
The preparation, updating and retention of contingency plans for industrial action in the fire and rescue service is the responsibility of fire and rescue authorities. The need to have a contingency plan in place is a requirement of the National Framework for the Fire and Rescue Service, compliance with which is assessed by the Audit Commission as part of their Comprehensive Area Assessment for the fire and rescue service.