Socialist Worker

Protest says no to West Midlands fire cuts

by Jen Austin
Issue No. 2481

Over 120 firefighters staged a noisy and determined protest outside a West Midlands Fire Authority meeting on Monday of this week.

The Labour-led West Midlands Authority is proposing to cut 300 jobs, change shift patterns and bring in a flat rate for overtime.

Steve Price Hunt is West Midlands FBU union brigade secretary. He said, “You cannot run a fire service on goodwill.

“We are prepared to negotiate but will ballot for industrial action—a complete ban on overtime.”

The local UCU and NUT union branches sent solidarity delegations.

Ricardo De Torre from Essex FBU said firefighters there faced the same kind of attacks.

“Changes in shift patterns for fire control staff means mothers having to choose between having a family and working for the fire service,” he said.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said the fire service was “being torn to pieces”.

But he added, “Fighting back does work.”

There will be a ballot next month.

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