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Standardisation of Terms & Conditions in Scotland

As you will be aware, the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS) was established as an Other Significant National Body on 31 August 2012 and took on its full range of functions on 01 April 2013.

All SFRS uniformed employees of the eight antecedent Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) were transferred into the single service on their existing terms and conditions of employment (T’s and C’s). The transfer of employees to the SFRS took place under the terms of the Cabinet Office Statement of Good Practice for Staff Transfers (COSOP) which is based on the principles of the “Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations” (TUPE) and as such, employees are protected from changes to their terms and conditions of employment if the sole or principle reason is the transfer itself.

The legacy T’s and C’s were developed through local application of the National Joint Council (NJC) for Local Authorities’ Fire and Rescue Services’ Scheme of Conditions of Service (the Grey Book) and/or through local agreements with the recognised Trades Unions. The legacy T’s and C’s were designed to facilitate the needs of the individual FRS and as such created a range of approaches across the antecedent organisations with the result that uniformed employees across the SFRS are now subject to differing contractual arrangements.

The service now proposes to standardise current terms and conditions of employment in a step towards a wider programme of service transformation.

The Scottish Government (SG) has also set out how it aims to reform and improve all public services through a decisive shift towards prevention; greater integration at a local level driven by better partnerships; workforce development; and a sharper, more transparent focus on performance.

To progress the standardisation of current terms and conditions of employment, the inaugural meeting took place this week to discuss the draft terms of reference. These meetings will be held fortnightly from mid-July to November with the intention of obtaining agreement between the service and representative bodies.

The RFU will be involved in discussions for all uniformed personnel but our primary objective will be to secure the best deal for Retained/On-Call staff within the service. We have already asked for details of local arrangements to ascertain the level of variation across the previous eight employers, to identify what works and what doesn’t work in different areas, as we believe it is vital that flexibility will be key to allow the RDS to flourish in Scotland.

We will keep members updated as information comes available. If you or your station would like to feed into the process please do so by contacting RFU HQ (hq@therfu.orgor 01953 455005).

The RFU is a member-led organisation and we intend to reflect the views of our members when taking part in negotiations.

If you are not currently a member of the RFU now is the time to join and have your say within these negotiations on your future. Don’t leave it too late!