FIREFIGHTERS AND emergency control room staff have been voting for their first national strikes in 25 years. None of them relishes going on strike. They have been forced into it by a government that treats them with contempt. It is the same arrogant New Labour government that backs George Bush's war drive even though unprecedented numbers of people in Britain oppose it.
Tony Blair is prepared to spend billions on war, while telling firefighters their pay claim will 'damage the economy'. More than 130 company directors in Britain got over £1 million each last year. A fully qualified firefighter gets £21,531 for a 42-hour week, working round the clock shifts.
Who's more deserving – the fat cat or the life saver? The firefighters are right to ask for £30,000 a year. And they know they are at the forefront of a drive against low pay across the public sector. Nurses have put in for a 15 percent rise. Council workers, teachers, lecturers and others are taking action over pay.
A victory for the firefighters will help every group of workers. Everyone should build support for their fight.