THE EXECUTIVE of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has had to reinstate national officer Paul Woolstenholmes, who was elected on a wave of criticism of the way the union handled the long-running pay dispute.
But the same meeting that dropped charges against him on Monday also agreed by eight votes to seven to ban Grassroots FBU, a grouping of activists in the union. Activists see this as an attempt to discredit potential candidates in forthcoming elections for the two union posts.
“Members say they don’t want bans and investigations of local officials,” says Neale Williams from the FBU in north London. “They want open and honest discussion about how we resist the attacks we face, and how we develop a political strategy for the union now we are disaffiliated from Labour.”
OPPOSING THE fascist BNP was high on the list of priorities of black and ethnic minority members of the FBU, who met last week.
Ludd Ramsey from Hampshire told the meeting that firefighters in his area want BNP member Ian Johnson out of the fire brigade.
Ludd said, “How should they expect somebody who is totally against our equal opportunities policy to carry them out? The management is just paying lip service.”
NINETY SIX fire station cooks in the Unison union were due to meet this week to discuss a ballot for strike action after the London fire authority recommended sacking all of them.