THE SACKING of Hampshire Fire Brigades Union (FBU) activist Simon Green the week before Christmas is another sign that some chief officers and fire authorities are already going on the offensive. He was sacked under capability procedures that are not nationally agreed. 'The case has national significance,' says Lud Ramsey of Hampshire FBU.
'If they get away with sacking Simon, who had already won an employment tribunal showing he was being victimised for trade union activity, then it will open the door to attacks elsewhere.'
Simon told Socialist Worker, 'This has been going on for four years. We are now arguing for a strike ballot over my sacking. The key thing everyone needs to understand is that what has happened to me and nearly a dozen other FBU members in the brigade is a serious attack on the union. I've been without any income since before Christmas. Before that I was on half pay. It has only been donations from hundreds of FBU members that have enabled me and my family to survive.'
A meeting in defence of Simon Green is to take place in Basingstoke on Tuesday of next week, the day of the national 24-hour strike.
West Midlands FBU activist Steve Godward's appeal against victimisation was to take place this Thursday morning. The brigade sacked Steve on charges which he denies and which arose from last year's strikes.
The national FBU backed a lobby of the hearing, and the local union has asked for permission to ballot for industrial action if Steve's appeal is unsuccessful.
Bob Pounder, who has been suspended by the FBU from his position as Manchester brigade secretary, has been told verbally that his case will be heard by the union's national executive on 17 February.
Bob was disciplined after speaking out against the decision to suspend strike action before Christmas in return for talks. He is calling for support from all FBU members to defend the democratic right of officials and activists to argue for what they see as the way forward even if it clashes with the national leadership.