26 April 2012
TO: ALL MEMBERS
Please find enclosed the following Executive Council Policy Statements to the Special Conference 2012.
- Campaigning to Defend Our Pension Scheme.
- Mutuals and Privatisation – A Dual Threat to the Fire and Rescue Service.
- FBU Relations with the Histadrut.
- Defend the Fire and Rescue Service – Stop the Cuts.
- Pay and the National Joint Council.
Brigade/Sectional Committees have the opportunity to submit Amendments to the Policy Statements.
Amendments must reach Head Office not later than 2.00 pm on Monday, 21 May 2012.
Secretary, Standing Orders Committee
A dozen firefighters from across Wiltshire are travelling to Westminster on Tuesday 17 April to warn local MPs plans to slash £1.8 million from the Fire Authority budget would render the county’s fire service “not fit for purpose” and could cost lives.
The controversial cuts package, put forward by the County’s Chief Fire Officer, is now out to consultation. It includes plans to cut frontline firefighting, spreading appliances more thinly around the county and reducing specialist emergency medical equipment.
Brent Thorley, Wiltshire Brigade Secretary, said: “MPs want to serve their constituents. They need to know what could happen in their own back yard if these cuts go ahead.
“We are firefighting professionals and can see the risks. It’s our job to alert MPs and councilors to what’s at stake. These cuts threaten to have a devastating impact on Wiltshire Fire and Rescue’s ability to serve communities.”
The key concerns are over:
- Cuts to ‘on call’ retained firefighters which could see the loss of one in three full time equivalent posts.
- Plans to cut 30 whole time firefighter posts, one in six frontline posts;
- Cutting the number of aerial appliances (for use in buildings over 3 floors where fire engine ladders can’t reach) from two to one
- Removal of four emergency tenders used at road traffic incidents and building collapses. They carry specialist medical equipment.
The FBU delegation has fixed up a meeting with Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, at the Westminster lobby and Robert Buckland, MP for Swindon South, hopes to be able to meet the firefighters.
The union is also urging all Wiltshire MPs to sign an Early Day Motion calling for “fair” central government grants to reflect the contribution fire services across the South West make to dealing with major UK incidents and building national resilience.
Brent Thorley, Wilts Brigade Sec; 07795623223 e-mail; firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Garraway, Wilts Brigade Organiser; 07967586499 e-mail; email@example.com
16th April 2012
TO: BRIGADE SECRETARIES
Cc: All Officials
You will be aware that the FBU has been supporting ‘Retired and Out Of Trade Members’ in a grievance lodged with the Pensions Ombudsman concerning the process by which the commutation factors applied to the 1992 Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (FPS) were updated.
The High Court also considered the same issue as it applied to the Police Pension Scheme, and ruled that the new factors involved should have been effective from the date that the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) produced them and not the date when the Home Office accepted them. The reason for the result was that the wording of the relevant regulations imposed a duty on GAD to produce the factors, and did not give the Home Office discretion whether or not to accept them.
Consistent with that Judgment the FBU managed to achieve a position whereby the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) backdated the new factors from the date applied to the Police pension Scheme (December 2006) for the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme to 22 August 2006. The Judgment did not however look at the other questions that we had raised: why was there a delay between 1998 and 2005 before the factors were re-examined.
The FBU maintain that this delay amounted to ‘maladministration’, which is a matter within the Ombudsman’s remit but not the courts’.
The Ombudsman has had its jurisdiction to consider complaints questioned resulting in an appeal being lodged by GAD by way of judicial review proceedings, in which the defendant (the Pension Ombudsman) is the person who has exceeded his or her statutory powers.
The FBU is named as an interested party, meaning a party who has an interest in the outcome and who can make their own arguments in the proceedings, but who need not do so if they have nothing to add. The FBU will not be required to make any separate arguments as our position is consistent with that of the Pension Ombudsman.
What this does mean is that the investigations against GAD and against the DCLG, which have been on hold pending the outcome of this appeal, can be progressed once this Judgment has been handed down.
Although we have no firm date for any Judgment we expect this to be handed down by the end of July. You will be given more information as it becomes available.
Yours in Unity,
More than 21,500 people have signed an FBU petition opposing Cumbria County Council’s controversial plan to close its Fire Control Room in mid-June, outsourcing emergency fire calls to Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, 150 miles away.
A four-strong FBU delegation – Fire Control staff Christine Wilson and Morven Anson, Ade Kevern, Cumbrian brigade secretary and Kevin Brown, North West regional secretary are travelling to London as part of the union’s campaign to highlight the strength of local feeling against the planned cut.
Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale will be handing over 18,247 signatures to the Speaker of the House of Commons on behalf of the FBU and Cumbrian citizens. The union handed over 3,298 signatures to Cumbria County Council in February, triggering a full council debate. But councillors refused to budge.
Ade Kevern, FBU brigade secretary, said the council had continued to ignore local people’s strongly-felt desire for emergency fire calls to be answered locally. “The Government is always banging on about localism, but over 21,500 people in Cumbria have made it clear they want fire calls in Cumbria answered in Cumbria. Yet the County Council just ignores their views.”
Morven Anson, Cumbria Control FBU Chair said: “Cumbria County Council’s dismissive attitude towards the strength of feeling was hugely disappointing. The FBU will continue to fight for the best possible service for the people of Cumbria”.
Ade Kevern 07967570362
2nd April 2012
TO: ALL MEMBERS
C.c. Executive Council Members
Regional & Brigade Officials
ONC National Committee
I am pleased to inform you that the only other candidate having declined to accept nomination, Brother John Arnold has been elected unopposed to the above position.
2 April 2012
TO: ALL MEMBERS
It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that Brother Mick Shaw, former President of the Union, died yesterday following a long battle with cancer.
On behalf of all members of the Union I have passed on condolences to his family and offered whatever support we can provide.
Mick joined the London Fire Brigade in 1977 and almost immediately became involved in the 1977 strike. He remained involved in the Union throughout his career, holding numerous positions as an official and was elected Executive Council Member for London in 1997. In 2007, he was elected as President and served in that position until he retired early in 2011. Tragically he became very ill shortly after his retirement.
Arrangements have not yet been made for the funeral but the family would prefer that this is a small event for family and close friends. We also hope to be able, with the family, to arrange a wider memorial event for friends and colleagues shortly.
I know that the thoughts of all of us will be with Mick’s family and friends at this tragic time.
2 April 2012
TO: ALL MEMBERS
Dear Brother / Sister
The agreement does not meet the full claim submitted by the FBU, however, we believe it represents the best achievable, at this time.
Assistant General Secretary