The Fire Brigades Union has secured better terms for West Midlands fire officers as part of reforms to working practices.
A reduction in central government funding prompted service managers to reduce the total number of officers from 63 to 54, at the same time as a report proposed that the minimum number of officers on duty in the West Midlands at any one time was increased from nine to 12.However, after months of negotiations with local FBU officials, deputy chief fire officer, Phil Loach, has agreed to maintain the nine officer minimum for six months.
Neil Johnson, West Midlands Fire Brigades Union officerâ€™s representative, said: â€œThis is a very successful outcome for fire officers and the service itself.
â€œThe FBU is really pleased that it was able to reach a collective agreement with management through thorough, intensive but very productive negotiations.
â€œWeâ€™re looking forward to seeing the results of the trial, which we think will show that nine on-duty officers, supported by a robust recall to duty policy, is the right amount to protect public safety and run the service efficiently.
â€œI would like to thank the deputy chief fire officer for his vital contribution towards reaching this agreement.â€
During the trial, officers can be called back onto duty during particularly busy periods or in case of substantial emergency.
Under the agreement a working group, which will include FBU officials, will be set up to carry out a full review of the minimum number of officers required to be on duty, the effectiveness of the recall to duty policy and the proposed flexible duty system.
If the trial proves successful, the nine-officer minimum will continue.
The agreement has also been signed by the Fire Officersâ€™ Association.