Industrial Action (IA) is an act which prevents the operation of the contract of employment. This occurs as a last resort when there is a dispute between the 'employer' and the 'employee' following an impasse in negotiations and will only be enacted through lawful ballot.
In the context of the Fire and Rescue Service, the National Joint Council (NJC) is the body responsible for negotiating on a national framework of pay and conditions for local application throughout the fire and rescue service in the United Kingdom. The NJC is made up of the ‘employers’ side - comprising representatives of the Local Government Association, Welsh Local Government Association, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Board and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Board, and the employees’ side - comprising representatives of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
Discussions have been ongoing for some time regarding the firefighter pay award 2022 and an agreement has yet to be reached on a suitable pay award. The FBU subsequently opened a ballot of its members from Monday 5 December 2022 until Monday 30 January 2023 with the recommendation to support full strike action. As of Monday 30 January 2023, FBU members have voted to take strike action. On Wednesday 8 February 2023, FBU members postponed their strike after a new pay offer was put forward by Fire and Rescue Service employers, the National Joint Council (NJC). FBU members will vote on the new offer from Monday 20 February until Monday 6 March, following this a further decision will be made.
Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) have assembled a dedicated team to look at IA planning and business continuity arrangements, for the ongoing provision of a fire and rescue service, in the event that FBU members vote for a period of IA.
We would invite you to read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Guidance in the event of industrial action - that have been collated and responded to by the team. These will be updated as and when further questions are received or arise. You can download a pdf copy of these FAQs here.
We have collated key safety advice for local residents to follow to keep safe, read the top safety tips here. Business owners and responsible persons are encouraged to read our safety advice for local businesses.
As part of planning arrangements, we are also currently recruiting a number of reservist roles:
- Reserve firefighter
- Team leaders
- Reserve fire appliance drivers
- Reserve emergency control operators
These reserve staff provide an invaluable role in helping to keep our communities safe, when providing resilience support during any periods of unforeseen staff shortages, which includes periods of IA. To find out more about the roles and to apply visit www.yesyoucan.careers/reservists.
Regular updates on any potential IA will be available on the news section of the AF&RS website – www.avonfire.gov.uk/news-and-incidents. You can also view updates on our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - @Avon Fire Rescue.