Firefighter leaders in new row over pay rise

By Barrie Clement
Tuesday 04 November 2003 01:00

The firefighters' dispute erupted again yesterday when union leaders refused to endorse a pay deal which brought the long-running conflict to an end.

The Fire Brigades Union is seeking an urgent meeting with local authority employers after it emerged that the next phase of a wage increase will be paid in two stages.

Firefighters will receive a 3.5 per cent rise on Friday and a further increase of 3.5 per cent in the New Year.

Employers said the deal had to be ratified by the Audit Commission which could not be done fully until the New Year.

But the union said it had expected the increase to be paid in full this week and that news of employers' intention to stage the increase only emerged in an e-mail sent on Friday.

The executive will meet again on Thursday to consider its next move. Local authority employers claimed it was always known that the deal had to be ratified by the Audit Commission before it could be paid in full.

John Ransford, one of the employers' chief negotiators, said that negotiations between the two sides had been proceeding well. Employers were willing to pay half of the increase next week, as a gesture of goodwill.

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