Thursday, 14 October 2010

Firefighters vote for strike to resist mass sacking

Matt Wrack, FBU General Secretary, FBU London region rally, 16 September (Picture: V. Morris)
Below is a press release from the firefighters' union, the FBU. They have voted by a big margin to strike unless a mass sacking notice is withdrawn. The London Fire Brigade issued the notice as a threat to force the FBU to accept changes to shift patterns.

Brian Coleman is the chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. He almost certainly supported the mass sacking notice ploy, and he now has the opportunity to use his influence to have it withdrawn. Does he have the good sense to do that?

London firefighters today voted by 3482 to 943 to take strike action unless London Fire Brigade Commissioner Ron Dobson withdraws his letter of 11 August which began the legal process of sacking the capital’s 5557 uniformed and 41 non-operational firefighters. The majority was 79% and the turnout was 79%.

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said: “This is a huge vote for strike action. Firefighters hate going on strike – but they hate being bullied even more. This vote demonstrates that London firefighters will fight these mass sackings every step of the way. The London Fire Brigade now needs to lift the sacking notices and start negotiating properly. I hope that even at this late stage, Ron Dobson will do the sensible thing, so that we can get round a table with him and sort out our differences over shift patterns without a gun being held to our heads.”

Strike dates will not be announced today. “We are holding off announcing strike dates for 24 hours in order to give the London Fire Brigade a last chance to do the sensible thing and withdraw the letters of dismissal so we can return to negotiating on the question of shift patterns” says FBU executive member for London Ian Leahair.

If there is no word from the London Fire Brigade, the regional committee will meet with Matt Wrack on Friday to discuss setting dates for strikes.

London firefighters have been taking action short of a strike, including an overtime ban and a ban on “acting up”, since Friday 24 September.


Anonymous said...

Excellent comrades! The worker's fundamental right to being paid whilst sleeping must be defended!

vickim57 said...

The point about the night shift being longer and including some time for resting is that humans function worse at night than in the day (we go to sleep at night if we have the choice). Research shows that working night shifts is bad for people.

The other point about the move to equalise night and day shifts is that it makes it easier to cut shifts altogether, meaning a worse service.

If you're happy with tired firefighters turning up to tackle your fire in the night, or not turning up at all, you're probably in a minority.

Mrs Angry said...

Anonymous, perhaps you might like to consider this photo of someone enjoying a well earned rest -
oh hold on: it's the Chair of the London Fire Brigade himself ...