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19 February 2018, 12:43
Fire Brigades Union members have passed a unanimous vote of no confidence in the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service chief officer and his senior leadership team.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said the vote came after its members repeatedly raised concerns over the availability of fire appliances and the continuing reliance on overtime to crew appliances.
The union said it is of the "firm belief" that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has had many opportunities to resolve these issues but has made no satisfactory improvements.
As a result, FBU members tabled a vote of no confidence in chief officer Alasdair Hay and his senior leadership team which was passed unanimously at an emergency committee meeting of the Scottish regional committee.
The FBU said it is also concerned that a public consultation on service transformation has started before the SFRS has "successfully integrated all legacy Fire Services practices and processes" and "standardised existing uniformed terms and conditions".
The union said it has continually made it clear that all legacy consolidation, including standardising of uniformed terms and conditions, must be satisfactory resolved before moving onto negotiations on service transformation.
Kirsty Darwent, chair of the SFRS board, said: "We are perplexed. This comes less than one week into a public consultation on proposals, which could see the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service transform to save more lives.
"The Fire Brigades Union is preventing 7,500 of Scotland's firefighters - many of whom are not FBU members - being given a real chance to do so much more for our communities, and be paid 20% more to do so.
"We have always been committed to dialogue. Indeed, since June last year have met with the FBU on 20 separate occasions to discuss harmonisation of existing terms and conditions as well as Service transformation.
"Myself and the Chief Officer are today looking forward to a meeting in London with FBU Assistant General Secretary, Andy Dark, which we believed had been scheduled to continue productive discussions on the future of the Service.
"We once again ask the FBU to put politics to one side, rise above their processes and their procedures and actually do what is right for their members and the communities they serve."