CONTROL STAFF in the London Fire Brigade have voted unanimously to ballot for a work to rule and strike action over congestion charges. An angry mass meeting last Sunday left GMB and Unison union officials in no doubt of the strength of feeling. A claim was submitted for compensation for congestion charges over a year ago.
Management made sympathetic noises. They have allowed firefighters using their own cars to transfer between stations within the zone to claim compensation, but not control officers.
Nightshift workers will have to pay the charge twice for one duty. The workers feel that the brigade's failure to compensate them reflects a lack of willingness to recognise their status as essential staff. 'See how they get on without us,' was the mood of the meeting.
In the past the workers have gone along with major changes in location, staffing and conditions. Strike action by firefighters and other control staff around the country has given them the confidence to fight.
Tony Phillips, London Fire Authority Unison branch secretary (personal capacity)