Strike aversion down to Welsh Government approach, says AM

Labour AM for the Vale of Clwyd, Ann Jones, has commended the Welsh Government for its proactive approach in negotiations with the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) which has seen industrial action called off in favour of further talks.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Ms Jones paid tribute to fire-fighters working across Wales and criticised the Tory-led UK Government who stubbornly refuse to negotiate with the FBU, resulting in continuing strike action.

Ms Jones, herself a former FBU national official: “Strike action is always a last resort for fire-fighters due to increased risk to the public. While in England, Ministers fail to listen to reasoning and common sense as part of an ideological hatred of trade unions, I am pleased the Welsh Labour Government sees that talking about the issues and working together to find an equitable solution is the correct approach.

“We won’t gamble with the Welsh public’s safety unlike the out-of-touch Tories in London.

“The Fire Service is a vital public service, ready and able to respond to extremely dangerous incidents at any time of the night or day. They deserve our continued gratitude and are asking for nothing more than fairness”.

Fire-fighters recently undertook four days of strike action in England while in Wales, the FBU cancelled the action following new proposals from Public Services Minister, Leighton Andrews. The dispute arises as a result of proposed pension changes, devastating cuts to the Fire Service in England and a later retirement age for fire-fighters.