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Fire and Rescue Service

Volume 518: debated on Monday 8 November 2010

On the evening of 4 November, following ongoing meetings, the Fire Brigades Union agreed to call off their 47 hour strike which was due to start at 10 am on Friday 5 and end at 9.00 am on 7 November. The proposed strike would have coincided with bonfire nights and Diwali—one of the busiest periods for fire and rescue services.

The two parties have agreed to refer their outstanding issues to the National Joint Council Resolution advisory panel, which comprises an independent chair and the joint secretaries of the National Joint Council for local authority fire and rescue services. The panel meets on 16 November. I very much hope that this process will result in agreement between the two parties without recourse to further dangerous and damaging strikes.

The two strikes witnessed in London on 23 October and 1 November, highlighted the need for all fire and rescue authorities to have in place robust business continuity plans which allow them to continue to provide a service to the public during a range of different types of disruption. I would encourage all fire and rescue authorities to satisfy themselves that they have such plans in place and to continue to strengthen these where necessary. I would like to thank all those who worked during these strikes, often in the face of serious provocation.