THE firefighters' FBU union last week announced that it was going to recall its national conference in Manchester on 12 September in its battle over pay. This conference would start a national strike ballot to fight for basic pay of £30,000 a year.
Steve Godward, a Birmingham firefighter, spoke to Socialist Worker in a personal capacity. He said: 'Over 1,000 firefighters in my region came to a union meeting last week-that's 25 percent of the membership. There's a sea change in people's psychology. We're not discussing when we go on strike, but how. The employers wanted an independent inquiry, but we've rejected that. The union is organising a national rally for London on 4 September in the run-up to the recall conference.'
'There's a steely determination amongst people,' says Neale Williams, a firefighter in north London. 'I went to three branch meetings last week and people were discussing what strategy we would take when we were on strike. There is one final meeting between the union and the employers on 2 September. That is their last chance to avert the strike.'