Firefighters in the FBU union in Herts have voted by 58 percent to 42 percent to put their strike action on hold and accept the latest employer proposals as a basis for formal negotiations to end their long running dispute over cuts.
Herts FBU members struck for eight hours on three separate occasions earlier this year in their battle to block plans by the Tory-controlled county council to shut down two part-time fire stations and cut up to 50 frontline firefighter posts.
The council’s latest proposals still involve Radlett and Bovingdon stations being closed at the end of this month. This is despite vibrant community campaigns to keep their stations open.
FBU officials say the fire authority has retreated over other aspects of its plans. They say they have received “a categorical assurance of no more cuts to frontline fire crews, frontline fire appliances or fire stations for three years”.
While strike action has forced the council into scaling back its cuts package, the size of the no vote shows that many firefighters felt that the failure to save Radlett and Bovingdon stations meant the deal should have been rejected.
Another concern among firefighters is that accepting the employer’s new proposals threatens to open up a breach between part time and full time firefighters that would weaken the union.