§ 97. Mr. P. Roberts
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will now give instructions that men in the fire service shall be treated for payment purposes on the same level as the police.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
Section 17 of the Fire Services Act, 1947, provides that the Secretary of State may make Regulations,inter alia, as to the pay and allowances of persons employed as members of fire brigades maintained by local authorities.
A National Joint Council for local authorities' fire brigades has been set up in England and Wales to consider questions arising as to the conditions of service of persons employed as members of 65W such brigades. The Secretary of State has recognised this Council as the proper body for the consideration of such questions, and in pursuance of the Act he is accordingly obliged to consult the Council before making any Regulations.
The constitution of the Council provides that in the event of any disagreement between the employers' side and the employees' side the matter in dispute shall, at the request of either side, be referred to the Minister of Labour and National Service for submission to one of the forms of arbitration provided by the Industrial Courts Act, 1919.
The National Joint Council has recently had under consideration a claim submitted by the employees' side for increased rates of pay. I am informed that the two sides have unhappily failed to reach agreement on the claim and that the matter in dispute has been reported to the Minister of Labour and National Service.
In the circumstances the question of action on my part does not arise.