Socialist Worker

Act now to back the firefighters

Issue No. 1828

'This is no longer just a dispute between the Fire Brigades Union and the government. It is a fight between the government and the whole union movement'
GMB union leader John Edmonds

TONY BLAIR is out to break the firefighters. He is also trying to set an example to every group of workers fighting against low pay. Blair's message is that nobody can get a wage rise unless they accept less time with their family and friends, longer hours at work, and endless bullying from jumped-up managers. That is what lies behind all his Thatcherite talk centred on so called 'modernisation'.

He wants job cuts and even more privatisation. Blair said other public services have 'modernised'. Some have. In the NHS, for example, vulture private firms now make a fortune from privatisation schemes, while nurses and other health workers suffer low pay and long working hours.

Behind the government stands every fat cat company director-people who have given themselves a 16 percent rise in the last year with NO 'modernisation' and not a squeak from Blair.

And what changed working practices did MPs accept to get their 40 percent pay rise? They now work SHORTER hours. The firefighters' brave stand has exposed the staggering hypocrisy at the heart of this government and the class divided society it defends. In taking a stand themselves, the firefighters are fighting for every working class person in Britain.

We urge all our readers to do everything possible to back the firefighters. That means collecting at work and in your area, actively supporting rallies and demonstrations, and pushing for the solidarity action that can win.

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