Socialist Worker

Firefighters: Get behind Homerton

Issue No. 1679

Firefighters

Get behind Homerton

FIRE BRIGADE bosses in London are out to take revenge on the Fire Brigades Union. That is the only possible explanation for why they suspended 11 firefighters at Homerton station, east London, on New Year's Day, compromising fire cover for people in the area.

The New Labour controlled London fire authority suffered a humiliating defeat last year when firefighters successfully defended their conditions and the service. Now London's chief fire officer has provoked a fight with one of the best organised stations in the capital. The 11 firefighters were asked if they would work with people who were breaking a union ban on prearranged overtime which dates from 1970. They were suspended, not because they stopped working normally, but because they said they would not work with those breaking the ban IF they came on station.

"We face the sack for standing by trade union principles and for action that we never even got the chance to take," one of the suspended firefighters told Socialist Worker. "Everyone who hears the truth about what happened is shocked," said another.

Mick Shergold, acting secretary of the London region of the FBU, says, "There is no way we are going to stand aside while 11 firefighters are sacked for trade union principles." The FBU in London has called a solidarity march for Friday 4 February and also plans four days of action.

It is to ballot for strike action if management have not reinstated the firefighters by 7 February.

Firefighters at other stations in London have already said they are prepared to strike. At Clerkenwell station they voted 100 percent for a strike. Firefighters are also planning to defy management and wear campaign stickers, leaflet and invite suspended firefighters into stations to address meetings. Other trade unionists, like members of UNISON at the nearby Homerton Hospital, are also organising solidarity meetings.

  • For speakers at union meetings contact Paul on 07930 538 550.
  • Demonstrate, Friday 4 February, assemble 10.30am, Homerton fire station, Homerton High Street, London E9.

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News
Thu 13 Jan 2000, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1679
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