Members of the capital’s fire authority have rejected proposals to withhold a full day’s pay for firefighters who strike for part of a shift.
The controversial proposal was made by fire commissioner Ron Dobson as part of a report on the financial cost of strikes being held in protest at Government plans to increase the age firefighters retire at.
Instead of striking for a full shift, firefighters have staged a series of two hour walkouts across multiple days, a decision the Fire Brigades Union says was made to minimise disruption to the public.
According to the report, the direct cost of the strike has now exceeded £10m, largely due to the cost of hiring a private contractor to provide fire cover during the walkouts.
Today’s meeting of the full authority were told that while the contractor’s services were only needed for a couple of hours per strike day, the company only provided services on a minimum 12 hour basis.
Members of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) have previously rejected docking pay for ‘partial performance’ however they were ordered to reconsider the proposal by Mayor Boris Johnson.
On Thursday a grouping of Labour, Green party and Liberal Democrat members expressed concern that adopting the policy would place the authority in the middle of the dispute between ministers and the union.
Speaking after the meeting, Green party member Darren Johnson said: “Ending partial payment for partially worked shifts during fire disputes would amount to a management lockout and all the evidence suggests that this will exacerbate the current dispute and lead to rapidly deteriorating industrial rations. That’s why I voted against.”
The vote makes it likely that the Mayor will use his power to overrule the authority and order it to adopt the policy.