Socialist Worker

West Mids bosses retreat after a vote for fire action

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2611

Strong support for strikes among firefighters in the West Midlands has forced bosses to back down from an attack on their terms and conditions.

Members of the FBU union voted to strike after the West Midlands Fire Service tried to introduce contracts forcing new starters to take on extra duties.

The vote—90 percent for strikes on an 82 percent turnout—forced the bosses to drop their plans.

The changes could have forced firefighters on the new contracts to take on duties well outside their normal job role.

This could potentially have taken them away from front-line emergency work, and created a two tier workforce.

But West Midlands FBU brigade chair Andrew Scattergood told Socialist Worker that after the strike vote bosses backed off from the changes.

They also agreed not to introduce any future changes without consultation with the FBU.

Andrew said that although the dispute is not over until the agreement is fully in place, the retreat by bosses means strikes are paused.

He said, “This highlights the significance of achieving a high turnout and a high yes vote in a strike ballot.”

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said, “There is a huge strength of feeling among firefighters and emergency control operators that these contracts would have done huge damage.”

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