Socialist Worker


This weekend sees crucial battle begin

14 September 2002
FIREFIGHTERS AND control room staff were in confident but angry mood in the run-up to their union's recalled conference in Manchester this week. They are confident as indications flood in from across Britain that 55,000 FBU union members are prepared to vote overwhelmingly to strike over pay.

One fire it will be hard to put out

31 August 2002
OVER 2,000 firefighters and their supporters converged on Belfast from around Northern Ireland and Britain as the firefighters' campaign for decent pay hotted up last weekend. This latest Fire Brigades Union (FBU) demonstration had the same confident and vibrant spirit shown on previous demonstrations on the streets of London, Glasgow and other cities.


24 August 2002
ABOUT 1,000 firefighters and their families joined a march in Swansea on Saturday as part of the accelerating national pay campaign. Two days later 400 marched on the Isle of Wight. It was the perfect answer to the chief officer there, who had boasted to local Fire Brigades Union (FBU) officials that they would "never get anyone to turn out for a march on the Isle of Wight".

Firefighters must get more than cops

17 August 2002
THE MOOD for a serious fight over pay in the fire brigade is hotting up. Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) were to march in Swansea this Saturday and the union has called further demonstrations on the Isle of Wight and in Belfast next week.

1,000 in Birmingham meet over pay

03 August 2002
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.


20 July 2002
FIRE BRIGADES Union (FBU) members are outraged at the employers' response to their pay claim. The body representing the employers last week rejected the union's call for a new pay formula that would increase the pay of firefighters to £30,000, with comparable increases for control room staff.


29 June 2002
A FIREFIGHTERS' rally ended in a militant display of direct action in London last Thursday. Some 1,000 members of the firefighters' FBU union turned out for the rally in support of the national pay claim.


22 June 2002
THE firefighters' FBU union leaders have been campaigning for unity in the fight to win a £30,000 wage. But right in the middle of the campaign they have suspended two union officials. Joe McVeigh and Neale Williams have been suspended following allegations of electoral irregularity in the Bowgate branch of the FBU. The accusations concern the ongoing election for the London delegate to the national council.

Battle for democratic control of political fund

25 May 2002
THE FUTURE of the political fund and the relationship between trade unions and the Labour Party were major issues at three union conferences last week. Debates at conferences of the TSSA rail union, the civil servants' PCS union and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) showed the continuing mood of anger with New Labour.

Respect Festival

13 October 2001
Saturday 20 October, Werneth Park, Oldham Carnival against the Nazis Called by Oldham United Against Racism. Supported by North West Region TUC, ANL, local NUT, Greater Manchester FBU Region Five, PCS, TGWU and UNISON

'Sold down the river to make businessmen richer'

10 March 2001
Around 1,000 people marched through Birmingham last Saturday to demand an end to privatisation of public services. There were 36 banners on the march including the local RAGE campaign against the closure of elderly people's homes, Defend Council Housing, the regional FBU and UCATT union banners, and several from local Socialist Alliance groups.


03 March 2001
Firefighters in Derbyshire are "withdrawing goodwill" with the Labour-controlled county council over a £1 million cut in the budget. A spokesperson for the firefighters' FBU union told Socialist Worker, "Last time we went into dispute with the council they hid behind a Tory government. They cannot do that now. Gordon Brown should spend some of his billions on essential services."


27 January 2001
"We'Vve given up a chance to stop a maverick chief officer trampling all over us." So said a Merseyside firefighter after the Fire Brigades Union accepted a poor deal rather than act on last week's vote for a strike. There will be "talks" over the number of control room staff, and a "review" of cuts in the number of appliances responding to automatic calls. A majority of FBU branches, 19 to six, reluctantly voted for the deal under pressure from FBU general secretary Andy Gilchrist, and regional and brigade officials.


05 February 2000
Firefighters on Merseyside have forced the reinstatement of the branch secretary and branch chair of Formby fire station after the threat of a brigade - wide walkout. Management suspended the two branch officials after an allegation that they had been "discourteous". This was a major attack on the FBU firefighters' union, as both officials are heading a campaign to prevent Formby from being downgraded. Both are now back at work after firefighters at stations across the brigade voted to walk out.

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