The head of the London firefighters union is leaving the post he’s held for more than 10 years.

Jim Holmes resigned as president of the London Professional Fire Fighters Association last week after he was elected to a two-year term as executive vice-president of the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association.

“I’m really looking forward to it, it’s a nice change,” he said.

Holmes has led the local union for more than 10 years, pushing to maintain wage parity between city firefighters and police.

“I loved doing work here . . . but (his new post) is a bigger picture place,” he said.

Part of his role on the provincial executive will cover larger issues, such as Ontario’s contract arbitration system — a process he knows all too well.

London firefighters are awaiting dates for arbitration later this year with the city over a new contract. Their last contract expired Dec. 31, 2010.

Arbitration takes contract standoffs out of local hands and submits it to a binding ruling by an arbitrator, a process many Ontario civic leaders have decried as responsible for driving up the costs of emergency services beyond levels their taxpayers can afford.

via London Free Press