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Firefighters to hold strike ballot

Picture courtesy Kent Fire and Rescue Service
Picture courtesy Kent Fire and Rescue Service

REPRESENTATIVES from Kent Fire Brigade Union have agreed to ballot for industrial action at the end of July following a series of meetings across the county.

A delegation from Kent made the decision at the FBU annual conference in Southport this week after listening to the views of firefighters at meetings held at fire stations across the county.

Three meetings have been held as part of the conference and it was on Wednesday that the decision to put strike action out to ballot was taken.

The decision comes after minor industrial action at Maidstone, Sittingbourne, Tonbridge, Strood, Dartford, Gravesend, Folkestone and Thameside stations earlier this month when firefighters answered only emergency calls.

The action was organised internally by firefighters who are angry and anxious over their wait for a pay rise following the 2003 strikes.

The firefighters were promised a 16 per cent pay rise over three years, with seven per cent due by last November. But they only received three-and-a-half per cent and have not yet received the remainder.

Harry Sawyer, FBU secretary for Kent, said: “The ballot will go out at the end of June to give employers a chance to reconsider their position.

“They have reneged on the deal we struck with them last year. We were told that at the beginning of this July we would get a 4.2 per cent rise.

“If they are still reneging on the three-and-a half per cent it is unlikely that they will stump up the 4.2 per cent.”

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