Thursday, May 19, 2005

Government stand firm on third ambulance

CFB dispute stalemate

As the CFB strike saga continues with no end in sight, the Gibraltar Government last night spelt out that firefighters are not entitled to demand whatever price they want for the provision of the third standby emergency ambulance.

According to the Government while firefighters may choose to stop providing a service that is beyond their job duties, the administration is also free to make alternative arrangements.

Meanwhile the Government has also reiterated that despite the staff side increasing their demand to a higher pensions upgrade, the offer to the firefighters presently on the table, is the final one.

A Gibraltar Government spokesman said:

“We note with regret the latest statement issued by firemen and the industrial action being taken. The firefighters say that last week their representatives sat down with Government in the expectation of entering a process of meaningful negotiations. This is not true, as the firemen could not possibly have had any such expectation, since Government had stated publicly and privately in letters to the Union that the Government has made its final offer and that the purpose of the meeting was to explain to staff why it was generous and should be accepted.”
“In fact, at the meeting last week the staff side increased their demand to an even higher pension upgrade. The Government will not increase the value of its final offer to firemen because there is no justification for doing so. Withdrawing service from the community will not alter this.

The firemen do not have to provide the third standby emergency ambulance, and may choose to stop doing so if they are now unwilling to do so on the terms that they agreed or on the better terms now on offer from the Government. But they are not entitled to demand whatever price they want, since the Government is free to make alternative arrangements as this service does not form part of the job duties of firemen.

The Government’s offer to firemen is generous and will not be increased. The Government has proposed an alternative way forward to firemen, namely that the Union can propose alterations to the Government’s existing offer by reducing the pensions upgrade element and increasing the cash element, but without increasing the overall value to the firemen or the overall cost to the Government.”

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