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Part-time firefighters win equal rights

07 Apr 2008

Part-time firefighters win equal rights The fire brigades union (FBU) has won an eight-year discrimination battle to secure part-time firefighters the same benefits as full-time staff.

The decision was for part-time firefighters working retained duty who respond solely to emergency 999 calls and will be good news for students who have part-time jobs as firefighters.

A Croydon Employment Tribunal found that firefighters working retained duty were discriminated against when they were denied access to a pension scheme and the same pro-rata sick pay as their full-time colleagues.

Its judgement was based on principles set out in a previous House of Lords case in 2006, establishing the right to equal treatment between part-time and full-time staff across a range of employment issues.

Richard Arthur, partner at Thompsons Solicitors, said that there were massive implications with the House of Lords' decision.

"It means that employers do not have to conduct individual analysis into part-time workers.

"If part-time workers' core duties are the same as [full-time] workers' then they will be eligible for the same benefits."

The eight-year legal battle started in 2000 when 12,000 cases were lodged at an employment tribunal.

Union lawyers appealed to the House of Lords after the claim had been initially dismissed in court.

The decision was voted for by the Lords at a majority of three to two.

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