Talks to finalise a deal to end the long-running firefighters' pay dispute appeared to have broken up without agreement and raised the prospect of fresh strikes.

Leaders of the Fire Brigades' Union held discussions with local authority employers yesterday and the two sides were expected to sign a proposal to pay the final two stages of the deal which ended the bitter strikes of 2002 and 2003.

But there was some confusion surrounding the talks in central London with the employers claiming they had ended with the FBU rejecting an offer while the union replied its members were still waiting to reconvene and discuss the issue.

Tuesday August 03, 2004