Late night talks (Wednesday, August 16th) at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) have resulted in an offer of improved terms for Retained Fire Fighters in a bid to resolve the current strike. As a result, SIPTU has decided to suspend strike action while these terms are considered and voted upon. SIPTU Public Administration and Community Divisional Organiser, Karan O Loughlin, said: "It was a long and difficult day yesterday with discussions continuing into the early hours of this morning. Eventually, enough progress was made to develop a document that could be put to members for consideration. The wording of the document will be finalised by the WRC shortly, but the heads of agreement tackle the core issue of pay security for fire fighters. "On foot of a request from the WRC, and to allow members time to consider the document, the union has agreed that the industrial action and strike action will be suspended pending consultation and voting on the proposals."As well as dealing with core pay, the overall proposals provided more value for fire fighters and made adjustments for new recruits to assist with the recruitment problem. Under the terms, new recruits would now enter the service with guaranteed minimum earnings of over €18,000 and would move to the increments faster than is currently the case. In addition, the guaranteed earnings for fire fighters with more than 8 years of service would be over €21,500."If the deal is agreed, station officers will have secure minimum earnings of between €27,400 and €31,730. Other relevant conditions in respect to the filling of promotional positions and the hiring of 400 new recruits remain intact, as does the reduction of a requirement to be available from 48 weeks to 24 weeks with an option to be available more frequently on a voluntary basis."This is a good first step in our campaign to rebuild the Retained Fire Service and, if this proposal is acceptable to our members, we will move to the second phase of the campaign. This will take place at the public service talks where the minister, Darragh O'Brien, will be tasked with continuing to build the retainer. The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) and SIPTU would then set about delivering the policies agreed, such as local authority hiring practices for Retained Fire Fighters, sick pay, other types of statutory leave, retirement age and social protection." SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O'Brien, said: "It has been clear for some time now that the rebuilding of the Retained Fire Service would be a two-step process. This first step provides, for the very first time, guaranteed income for Retained Fire Fighters. This would give us the correct direction of travel for the future, while ensuring that the work-life balance is also addressed."The proposal on the table has a built-in review every six months to ensure that the recruitment mechanisms stay on course and the policies are rolled out in good time. It has been an arduous process for Retained Fire Fighters. Their resilience and determination in this dispute is to be admired."