They also offered an interim pay award of 4% starting on the same date and an independent inquiry into pay and modernisation. If this inquiry is agreed and produces an increase of more than four per cent, the firefighters would be paid that extra starting on the same date. If it produces less than four per cent, no money will be reclaimed. In fact, many believed that this is already a reasonable offer. If the FBU accepted their offer of four per cent interim, a fully qualified firefighter would earn 22, 392 per year. They said that they would agree for a special case of firefighters' pay increase provided they see some changes in the way the service operates.
The Employers said, "In relation to the whole economy, firefighters are in the top half of the national earnings league for full-timers." And that, "Fifty per cent of male full-timers in the April 2001 New Earnings Survey earned less than 408 a week gross, whereas average earnings for qualified firefighters (firefighter being the lowest operational rank) at that time were 416 a week. They also said that it is true that firefighting is one of the hazardous occupations but as compared to some other occupations of the same category, the risk of death and injury in firefighting is lower.
However, the FBU rejected this offer. They recalled a conference on September 12 where they passed a resolution to ballot all FBU members to "take a discontinuous strike action in pursuance of a fair wage for fire fighters and Emergency Fire Control Operators". They believed that they are worth this increase because of the job they do. They receive no shift payments, weekend allowances or payments for working night shifts unlike the majority of workers who do the shift system. They claimed that their earning of 21, 531 per annum is not a fair wage since 11% of this is deducted for their pension scheme and their hourly pay is lower since they work 42 hours weekly, more than that of the 38 or less standard working hours per week.
This is the second national strike that happened after FBU's 1977 national strike where they campaigned for a forty-hour week labour for the firefighters, a ban on shift overtime and a 30 per cent pay claim. This strike lasted for nine weeks and although success is not immediate, soon the 42-hour week was introduced along with the pay formula in 1979 (Pounder, 2002). However, in 1980, the employers took on the offensive by publishing the 1980 Green Paper on the Fire Service. This paper aimed to reduce fire service jobs and standards of fire cover. Thus, conflict between the firefighters and their employers has been going on for the last three two and a half decades already.
Both parties have many other arguments that support their claims. In this paper, there are four key questions discussed pertaining to this case. For the final question, an analysis with respect to the unitary, pluralist and radical views of power is provided.
Q: Identify the different stakeholders in the conflict (both involved in and affected by the dispute) and their relative importance to the process.
A: The obvious stakeholders involved in this dispute are the firefighters. Taking a strike action is a major risk for the firefighters because, first and foremost, they are not sure if doing this