The Fire Brigade Union (FBU) has a long standing industrial dispute with Government Ministers regarding pension reforms. This dispute is out of my hands as the Chairman of South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority, but I urge Ministers and FBU Officials to commence negotiations in order to bring a resolution to this dispute.
As an Authority we have a duty to ensure contingency arrangements are in place for periods of Industrial Action, and to achieve this we have employed highly professional and dedicated Auxiliary Firefighters that have been trained in safe firefighting and rescue techniques. However, our ability to respond to our communities is extremely limited in capability and numbers in comparison to normal days when there is no Industrial Action.
This ongoing Industrial Action is costly to us as an Authority; we have already spent £1.5m on contingency plans and arrangements. Therefore, I once again urge Government Ministers and FBU Officials to engage in meaningful and constructive dialogue to ensure a successful and speedy resolution is achieved, before this dispute affects motivation and morale even further.
I would like to thank our communities for staying safe during periods of Industrial Action by heeding the safety advice provided by the Service.
Chair South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority