Hundreds of protesting firefighters confronted Tory fire minister Penny Mordaunt as she turned up to open the new West Norwood station in south
As Mordaunt’s car pulled up firefighters took to the road and surrounded the vehicle to voice their anger at Tory attacks on their pensions and the fire service.
It took numerous attempts to get Mordaunt into the building as workers repeatedly blocked her with chants of "no ifs, no buts, no fire service cuts".
It was only after police sent for back-up that she was able to force her way inside.
Angry firefighters filled the road outside the new station for over an hour before she was due to make an appearance. They were still protesting as Socialist Worker went to press.
Mordaunt is leading the attacks on firefighters’ pensions. She wants them to work until they are 60 - up from 55. And if they are unable to keep up the levels of fitness required they face the sack and the loss of up to half of their pensions.
On top of that firefighters have seen the service pushed to crisis point by cuts. Ever since the Tories came to office in 2010 over 5,000 frontline firefighter jobs have been cut—and more are expected to go.
Workers have struck against the Tory pension proposals. But the government is pressing on with its plans and it’s been a month since the last strike day.
The union has not yet called any further action. This is a mistake. It dissipates momentum and workers’ confidence to win.
Activists have organised a meeting for Wednesday of next week for members to organise and get the strikes back on.
The London region called the meeting. Greater Manchester and Merseyside FBU are backing it.
London region FBU secretary Paul Embery will speak alongside Alan Chinn Shaw, Essex FBU brigade secretary.