RESPECT has written to firefighters' union members. The letter is signed by George Galloway MP, national secretary John Rees and executive member Linda Smith. Linda is the London Region treasurer of the FBU.
They argue, 'Many firefighters are deeply angered by the role of the New Labour government in breaking the FBU strike last year. So are we. The firefighters were among the first trade unionists to support the anti-war movement. We were proud to open the stage of the anti-war movement to firefighters during their dispute.'
And they note that 'New Labour is no voice for the FBU. But disaffiliating from New Labour without any replacement also leaves the FBU without a political voice. 'Better to cut the money going to New Labour and begin the work of creating a new voice for working people. We have started that work by founding Respect: The Unity Coalition. We would obviously like your support. But even if you do not think that you can yet support us, even if you wish to continue to support New Labour, we ask you to make certain that the FBU does not withdraw from politics but instead votes to fund those who stand by the policies of the FBU whether they are in the Labour Party or the new Respect coalition.'