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'No redundancy' pledge to county's firemen.

FIREMEN in Coventry and the West Midlands have been given a "no redundancies" pledge.

West Midlands County Council heard yesterday that no uniformed men would be sacked in the county's search for the pounds 2.3 million to finance their 18.8-percent pay offer.

But the chairman of the county Fire Committee, Councillor Leslie Sprigg, warned that savings would have to be made. Some back-room jobs could go.

West Midlands firemen voted yesterday to accept the two-stage offer, which averted a threatened" series of one-day strikes.

The final decision on the offer will be made tomorrow. Delegates are to meet at a national conference in Blackpool to discuss the implications of the pay package.

Conn. Sprigg said that pounds 2.3 million would have to be found to meet the pay bill, if the deal was accepted.

"We will be looking to some savings in the West Midlands budget," he said.

"That we are bound to do.

"But that will not lead to any redundancies."

Later, the chairman said that a number of cost-cutting options were being - looked at. One was the trimming of jobs by not filling vacancies in non-uniformed support sections.

West Midlands were one of the authorities who were against the 18.8-percent pay offer being made to the firemen - and they made their views public.

Councillor Gordon Morgan, the opposition Labour group leader on the council, claimed at yesterday's meeting that the remarks of some council leaders had been 'abrasive" and "inflammatory."

He said: "It is no thanks to them that a series of one-day strikes, or worse still, a national strike, did not come about."

But Councillor Alan Hope, the leader of the council, stood by their policy. He said that the ratepayer could not afford to foot the bill for such a high increase in firemen's pay.

Tory county councillors applauded when the meeting was told that West Midlands busmen had accepted a 6 per cent pay offer.

The Tory transport chairman, Councillor Dr Peris Jones, commended the busmen for their "realism and good sense." He praised negotiators from both the unions and the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive.

But the Labour opposition group leader, Councillor Gordon Morgan, said that the busmen were so terrified about the future of their jobs that they had accepted a pittance. The 6 percent award was less than half the rate of inflation, which meant a cut in living standards for them.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Nov 3, 2007
Words:404
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