A series of local firefighters’ disputes are hotting up with ballots for strike action in both South Yorkshire and Merseyside, and continuing industrial action in London and Essex.
Members of the firefighters’ FBU union in South Yorkshire, who have been taking action short of a strike for much of the summer, are angry at plans to sack and re-employ them on new contracts with worse conditions.
Bosses want to extend shift times by up to three hours in order to cut £4 million from their budgets.
Jeremy Pagan from the FBU executive told Socialist Worker, “Our branches are right behind the decision to ballot for a strike.
“Last week we held a series of meetings around South Yorkshire and I can honestly say there was not one dissenting voice.
“The new shifts that the bosses want are the final straw. Behind this dispute lies a management that wants to rule by diktat.”
Jeremy said that there was still time for fire bosses’ to return to the negotiating table but that there was little to suggest that they were in the mood to talk.
The ballot for action will open on Thursday 3 September, with results expected by Monday 28 September.
Firefighters in Merseyside are set to commence a ballot for strike action in defence of senior union rep Kevin Hughes, who was sacked by the fire authority after what many believe to be a flawed disciplinary process.
Les Skarratts, secretary of Merseyside FBU, said, “We urge all members of the union to vote yes.
“This is about the credibility of disciplinary procedures, without which we think tensions will run high.”
Voting started this week with an announcement on possible strikes expected by the end of the month.