Matt Wrack, the general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, has responded to an ‘open letter’Â from the fire minister in Westminster to firefighters on the ongoing pensions dispute.
Firefighters across England and Wales were on strike over the weekend after the government failed to produce new proposals for their pensions by 24 April: four months since the last strikes.
However, in a letterÂ to the chairs of fire and rescue authorities on 24 April, fire minister Brandon Lewis said that his department had been in possession of costed proposals for firefighter pensions sinceÂ 19 March.
In response, the FBUÂ asked the minister to disclose the proposals, but the ministerÂ wrote an ‘open letter’ to allÂ firefighters claiming that the proposals had in fact been offered to the FBU during negotiations.
In a response, the FBU has pointed out that duringÂ negotiationsÂ government officials have specified that any documents under discussionÂ did notÂ constitute proposals unless they had been approved as such by the minister.
The union has also pointed out thatÂ at a meeting on 19 March â€” the date the minister says proposals were ready â€”Â governmentÂ officials were clear that there were no proposals on offer.
In the letter, Wrack writes: “If you have had revised proposals for some time, which were costed on 19 March, why have you not presented these for consideration by FBU members?
“We have been clear for the past four months that we expected and hoped for revised proposals and that we would be keen to consider them.
“The union’s executive Council has scheduled meetings over the next few weeks which will allow further time for any revised proposals to be made.
“I hope that both sides can take this opportunity to move the discussion on.”
You can read Brandon Lewis’ letter to chairs of fire authorities here.
You can readÂ Brandon Lewis’ ‘open letter’ to firefighters here.
You can read a letter from Brandon Lewis’Â to Matt Wrack here.
You can read Matt Wracks’ letter to Brandon Lewis here.
You can read a circular to FBU members here.