Comrades 

PAY

The Executive Council met in London last Monday, the 14th August.  The main item on the Agenda was the pay offer from our employers (via the NJC) which, as you know, was initially rejected on grounds with which you will all be familiar with.  The attached All Members Circular was issued following the EC meeting on the 14th and the FBU have since written to the employers Joint Secretary.  We are awaiting a response and expect to receive that following a meeting tomorrow (22nd Aug) of the employers side of the NJC.  Depending on the response from the employers, the potential exists for a new recommendation from the EC.   

Essentially what we are looking for is confirmation that our own interpretation of the full offer is correct, given a further letter delivered to the EC on the 14th August with, what we believe to be, additional detail and clarification on both parts of the pay offer. Specifically, the EC is clear about would constitute a joint agreement on role expansion and the consequences of no such agreement being reached in November, were we to accept the initial 2%, for example.  We need to be sure however that the employers share our understanding of this critical element of the overall pay offer for 2017/18.  Furthermore, the arrangements for additional increases in subsequent years and sustained funding both now and in future; if the current offer were to be acceptable at this time.    

The precise detail and rationale behind any new recommendation would obviously have to be communicated  to members and a further consultation would have to take place.  I will keep you posted.  However, to be absolutely clear, if the additional clarification we seek is not forthcoming or to our satisfaction, then the position of the FBU will be as previously communicated to the NJC and our support for a continuation of the EMR Trials will cease on the 24th August.  Tomorrow afternoon I am meeting with Deputy Chief Officer Ian Bushell, ACO Lewis Ramsay and AM Davy Rout in order to discuss this scenario.   

Service Transformation  

Please see attached documents which were issued by SFRS, some of which was posted on the intranet and some issued to managers during/following information/briefing sessions.  Contained within the Q&A document is the following:

 

Q: Will you be negotiating through the Unions?

A: Yes. We will conduct full negotiations with not only the FBU but all unions that represent firefighters. 

As the largest representative body, we have already invited the FBU – as the largest Union in the Service - to the table to begin negotiations and hope they will do so soon

I don’t think this could be any clearer with regard to negotiations with the FBU, ie there have been none.  Prior to SFRS issuing these documents and commencing information sessions, SFRS Board Chair Pat Watters wrote to FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack, inviting him to Scotland. The following is an extract from that letter:

Therefore, I would like to invite you and your nominated officials to have initial, without prejudice, meetings with the team working on service re-design to explore how the SFRS could work together with the FBU i.e. to consider arrangements whereby any formal negotiations around service re-design can run in parallel with those required to harmonise T’s and C’s.” 

A meeting took place on Thursday 17th August.  The Gen Sec was represented at this first meeting with the Chief Officer, Deputy CO, Chair of SFRS Board and Vice Chair, by FBU President A. McLean, AGS Andy Dark and myself.  The conclusion of that meeting is that we will continue to engage with and listen to SFRS on this issue and it is therefore likely that further meetings will now be arranged.  

To be clear.  SFRS are perfectly entitled to engage with their employees on any issue they see fit.  However, matters which affect our members Terms and Conditions within areas of reform are subject to the exact same conditions as in any other area of employment, ie there must be collective bargaining and negotiation and agreement with the FBU.  Indeed, SFRS have made that clear within their own Q&A document, referenced above.