Keep up heat on fire chiefs
FIRE BRIGADE management in London is on the run. Last week it said it would lift the suspensions of 11 firefighters from Homerton, east London on two conditions. It wanted to continue with disciplinary action against them and it demanded the Fire Brigades Union call off the solidarity campaign for their unconditional reinstatement. "It wasn't an offer. It was an insult," said Paul Skiorzewski, branch secretary of the FBU union at Clerkenwell station.
The Homerton 11 rightly rejected the offer. So too did the London regional committee of the FBU after angry speeches against it. Then on Monday of this week management backtracked further. It lifted the suspensions, although the 11 firefighters could still be disciplined and sacked. The move came after 200 firefighters in east London sent formal letters to management endorsing the same trade union principle the Homerton 11 were suspended for.
The lesson is clear. Management is rattled. There should be no talk of allowing the chief officer a face saver through negotiations. The days of action planned for next month should all be brought forward, as should a planned ballot for strike action. Rank and file pressure kicked out last week's insult. If it is built on, London firefighters can win a clear victory.
- For speakers at union meetings contact Paul on 07930 538 550.
- Solidarity demonstration, Friday 4 February. Assemble 10.30am, Hackney Marshes (Homerton end), London.