Socialist Worker

Firefighters against the cuts

by Neale Williams branch chair, Whitechapel FBU
Issue No. 2170

Firefighters are fighting a wave of cuts across Britain.

FBU union members in South Yorkshire and Merseyside are balloting for strikes and London and Essex firefighters are already taking industrial action.

Warwickshire is the latest brigade to announce severe cuts, with plans to close seven fire stations, cut a third of appliances and axe 100 jobs.

Attacks are being met with fierce local resistance, but what’s needed is a national response.

Over 200 firefighters attended a mass meeting in east London on Wednesday of last week. The meeting was organised after pressure from rank and file union members.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack told the meeting that the union was considering calls to recall the annual conference.

But he cited anti-union laws as an obstacle to taking national strike action.

Meanwhile, London firefighters are in the third week of a withdrawal of goodwill in defence of conditions.

This action is having an impact—even shutting some stations. But it hasn’t been sufficient to secure a victory.

London fire chief Ron Dobson has responded by threatening to dock pay.

In the face of these tactics, union members are calling for a national response involving harder hitting action.

South Yorkshire FBU has called a mass lobby in Barnsley next Monday 28 September. Assemble 11am, Churchfields Park.

FBU rally and lobby of Parliament, Wednesday 21 October, Westminster Central Hall, London

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Article information

Tue 22 Sep 2009, 18:28 BST
Issue No. 2170
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