Socialist Worker

Angry firefighters demand fresh strikes after union postpones walkout

Issue No. 2376

Firefighters marching in central London last week

Firefighters marching in central London last week (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Firefighters are furious after the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) called off a planned five-hour strike to defend pensions last week.

Its executive council (EC) said it had “postponed” the strike due to changes in the government’s position in a notice to members on Friday of last week.

The strike was set to begin at 6.30pm last Saturday. Firefighters held a solid four-hour strike last month. 

They are fighting plans to force them to work until they are 60 or risk massive cuts to pensions, and other pension attacks.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said, “FBU members want firm guarantees and not just fine words. We have given the government the opportunity to progress this matter seriously.”

The EC confirmed that the dispute remains live and it has not endorsed any offer from the government.

Dave Waterman is FBU London south west area chair. He told Socialist Worker, “The executive council has called off the strike on an offer, a suggestion, that doesn’t even come close to addressing the demands we made at conference.”

Opposed

Four EC members opposed calling off the strike. The London region of the FBU confirmed that their EC member voted against the proposal.

London FBU members met on Monday of this week to discuss the EC’s decision.

An emergency resolution for the EC to call a fresh strike of no less than 24 hours was carried unanimously. 

“The passing of this motion gives members something to discuss formally around building an 

opposition in the union” said Yusuf Timms, South West London FBU rep. 

The motion, proposed by South West Area and seconded by the North West area, still needs to be passed by Regional, Brigade and Sectional Officials and the EC. 

Officials are due to meet on Friday of this week to discuss the next steps.

“Members now have to pressure officials, from the branch up, to develop the opposition and build support for this resolution” said Yusuf.

To read the full emergency resolution go to bit.ly/17dvYjh

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Article information

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Tue 22 Oct 2013, 16:40 BST
Issue No. 2376
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