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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 May 2013

Firefighters prepare for pensions battle

Claire Laker-Mansfield
London firefighters rally against service cuts, photo Ben Robinson

London firefighters rally against service cuts, photo Ben Robinson   (Click to enlarge)

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) met on 15-17 May in the teeth of enormous attacks on firefighters and on the life-saving service they provide. From threats of station closures to the 1,200 jobs that were cut in the last year, it's clear that the Con-Dems would rather see working class people killed in the ravages of fire than ask those responsible for the economic crisis to foot the bill.

It's therefore unsurprising that a mood of defiance prevailed among the conference delegates. A determination to resist was evident in almost every conversation and there was a clear thirst for ideas and a strategy for defeating this vicious government.

Copies of the Socialist sold well and the new pamphlet 'Don't vote for cuts', drawing lessons from Southampton's struggle against cuts, was a real success. The demand for a 24-hour general strike also gained a big echo when discussed.

Perhaps the central discussion was on the question of a strategy to defend pensions in the service. The proposed attacks include further increases in the employee contributions to the scheme and, outrageously, an increase in the age of retirement from 55 to 60. A ridiculous proposal when you consider the physical demands of the job.

The conference unanimously passed a 'seven point plan' of demands that the union would make of the government, passed on the understanding that if the government fail to negotiate in good faith this would be followed with a ballot for crucial industrial action.

In an act of apparent provocation, the conference ended on the day another raft of attacks were announced - veiled in the language of reform - with the publication of the Knight Review. Nothing could emphasise better the need for a fightback to save our fire service and, by extension, the lives of countless ordinary people.

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In The Socialist 22 May 2013:


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Bedroom tax campaigning in Leytonstone, Birmingham and Newham


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Tories in turmoil over Europe

Big business tax avoidance scandal

Another blow for workfare

NHS staff under the cuts cosh

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

Fighting cuts in wales


International socialist news and analysis

South African economy: Mass sacking threat demands mass action

Sri Lanka: Isolate the murderous Rajapaksa regime


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Southampton TUSC rally

Anti-blacklisting campaigner run over

University backs down: students and workers win!

Support for Mid Yorkshire Health struggle in the Mirror

Strike against legal aid cuts

March against the G8

London Socialist Party regional conference


Socialist Party workplace news

Fighting back pays off: Thera East Midlands forced to make concessions

POA conference - Prisons should not be run for profit

Support Carling brewery workers at Burton-on-Trent

Sacked Tesco drivers on the march again

PCS members fight Land Registry privatisation

Firefighters prepare for pensions battle

Workplace news in brief


Readers' comments

Cuts kill: Con-Dem benefit 'reforms', mental health and suicide

Why I joined the socialists


 

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Firefighters:

triangleSurrey firefighters to ballot on Christmas industrial action

triangleMajor funding for flood risk management needed

triangleGrenfell fire inquiry spin deflects blame from establishment

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FBU:

triangleSouth Yorkshire defeats fire cuts

triangleStop the fire service cuts

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