Socialist Worker


Issue No. 1978

Three rounds of strike action by firefighters in the West Midlands have started to win significant concessions from the brigade.

Hundreds of Fire Brigade Union (FBU) members struck on Monday morning this week, the third strike in seven days.

That forced one of the most hard-nosed brigades in Britain to say it would look again at the new shift patterns it had imposed. The FBU had opposed the drive to cut night time cover and introduce worse shifts. West Midlands is seen as a test case.

The government is pushing for local brigades to make such cuts and attacks on conditions as part of its “modernisation” plan for the service.

West Midlands brigade appears to have conceded additional travel expenses when going to other stations and an extra shift allowance, as well as considering the whole system.

In response the FBU called off two strikes planned for Wednesday and Saturday of this week.

Any success in West Midlands will boost the confidence of firefighters and control staff across the service. It comes after strikes in Suffolk prevented job losses and cuts to the service.

Whatever the final shape of a deal in West Midlands, FBU members there have shown that the union does have the power to take successful action against cuts and attacks on conditions.

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Sat 26 Nov 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1978
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