We have previously notified members that the Fire Minister had requested the creation of a ‘Fitness Group’ facilitated by the Chief Fire & Rescue Adviser, Peter Holland. The intention of the group was to provide an opportunity for employers, employees and Government to consider the issues around fitness in more depth, and identify good practice to address them.
The RFU fully supports the introduction of the group and will play its full part by raising awareness that there is currently an uneven playing field, on which Retained staff are not provided with the same opportunities to attain and maintain specific fitness levels. This barrier is worsened by the nature of the duty system and the limitations for opportunities to attain and maintain fitness levels.
We also take issue with the way in which fitness levels are managed locally which often creates unnecessary obstacles causing members to remain off the run.
The first of these meetings is due to take place on 31 March and we will keep you updated on developments.
Upholding the values of the fire and rescue service
The Fire Minister wrote to all Chief Fire Officers in England late last year, raising the issue at unacceptable behaviour (inc. bullying and harassment) in the service and the need for it to be eradicated.
This issue was notably raised in the Bain Report (2002) and the results of a government survey in 2008 showed that a third of serving and ex-firefighters had experienced bullying during their career.
With the growth in social media use, bullying and harassment has found another avenue for this type of behaviour causing distress to others. During any industrial dispute emotions naturally run high and unfortunately inappropriate behaviour has increased again.
A meeting of stakeholders will take place in London on 12 March and we will keep you updated on developments.
If you have or are experiencing inappropriate behaviour from a work colleague(s) and in your opinion local/senior management have not dealt with it appropriately we would like to hear from you. Your details will be kept anonymous and will be added to our evidence file – you can contact us by phone (01953 455005) or email.
Modified Pension Scheme – Your Questions
We have been inundated with queries from members past and present regarding the options exercise for the Modified Scheme. While we legally cannot provide financial advice we are able to provide clarity of the options available and their implications.
Whilst the majority of queries are being dealt with by RFU HQ, there are a few generic questions that have been raised where there doesn’t appear to be a clear explanation. We have therefore contacted DCLG for further clarification to ensure our members receive the correct information with which to make their decision.
It would also appear that some local fire authorities are experiencing the same problems perhaps through a lack of guidance centrally.
When we are satisfied that we are in receipt of the correct information we will put a FAQ on our website. As soon as this is available we will notify all members.