Socialist Worker

Firefighters: 'Call national action to beat back the cuts'

by Tom Walker
Issue No. 2174

The striking firefighters in South Yorkshire (for strike report see page 6) are fighting cuts on a massive scale.

Bosses want to cut more than £4 million from the budget.

That would leave only one fire engine to cover emergencies at night, when the most dangerous fires happen.

And they plan to put firefighters on 12-hour shifts instead of nine-hour ones, leaving many with no time to see their children.

The strikers are fighting for firefighters across the country, from Essex and London to Merseyside, who are facing savage cuts and sackings.

Yusuf Timms, FBU union borough secretary for Kensington and Chelsea, spoke to Socialist Worker (in a personal capacity).

“South Yorkshire is the epicentre of what’s happening,” he said. “If they can beat the union there, they’ll come for the rest of us. We’re facing a national attack in all but name. We need a unified national strategy to fight it.

“The FBU has long since had a policy that any compulsory redundancies would be met with a national strike ballot.”

That has not yet happened over the South Yorkshire dispute.

But national strike action is what we need if we’re going to beat the attacks.

Yusuf said, “The first step to getting that action is to demand the union immediately recalls annual conference.”

From there the national strike ballot can be launched.

Firefighters were set to hold a rally and lobby of parliament, at 11.30am this Wednesday, Westminster Central Hall, London. Every activist there should build the solidarity with South Yorkshire – and pile pressure on the union to fight.

Meeting after the lobby – Build solidarity with South Yorkshire. 1.30pm, Red Lion pub, 48 Parliament St. Speakers: Ian Murray, FBU S Yorks brigade sec, FBU Merseyside brigade sec Les Skarratts, FBU London official Paul Embery. Supported by South Yorkshire, Merseyside, Essex and London FBU regions


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News
Tue 20 Oct 2009, 19:31 BST
Issue No. 2174
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