Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Crunch Talks on Bitter Fire Deal

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Crunch Talks on Bitter Fire Deal

Article excerpt

Make or break talks that could see an end to the bitter firefighters' pay dispute - or a call for further strikes - were being held today.

The National Firefighters' Union executive was meeting to decide whether to recommend acceptance of an employers' deal - thrashed out in behind-the-scenes talks during the past two weeks.

Alan Blacklee, chairman of the Cleveland brigade FBU branch, said: "We don't expect any more money but that wouldn't be enough for us to go on strike.

"It is now about conditions and the future of the service - job losses and station closures.

"We are looking for some improvement in conditions or further strike dates may be announced - possibly today.

"We want a negotiated settlement. We didn't join the fire service to go on strike. We were forced into it."

Ahead of the meeting Sir Jeremy Beecham, chairman of the Local Government Association, was hopeful, saying he was more confident than at any time in the past 12 months that an agreement was in sight. …

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