THE GOVERNMENT is trying to break the firefighters. Everyone needs to fight to make sure its assault fails. The threats and intimidation came as firefighters struck for 48 hours this week and planned another strike starting from 9am on Saturday.
A wave of anger swept through fire stations on Tuesday as deputy prime minister John Prescott said he would take legal powers to impose a pay deal on the firefighters.
Andy Brickles, the FBU union's East Midlands regional chair, told Socialist Worker, 'This is a crucially important struggle for us and for every trade unionist in Britain. The employers are now saying they will not negotiate while we schedule strikes. They are obviously supported and directed by the government-as they have been from the start. The government can find limitless money to bomb Iraq but we are told that any pay deal over 4 percent will have to be funded by job losses and a worse service. It is scandalous that they are behaving like this. We need the full support of the TUC and other unions.'
As well as halting talks, the government has now said the pay offer will get worse every time the firefighters go on strike. Such Thatcherite bullying cannot be allowed to succeed. It was right for the firefighters to strike this week and it will be right to continue and to step up their action. We urge all our readers to back the firefighters.
Other union leaders must be pressured to give full support to the FBU.