Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/267/24577

From The Socialist newspaper, 6 September 2002

Support The Firefighters

THE VERY lively protest in London by thousands of firefighters on 2 September revealed their determination to win their pay claim. But it also reflects a wider militancy amongst public sector workers, who are no longer prepared to tolerate low pay, cuts and privatisation.

Jim Horton

Firefighters could be striking for the first time in 25 years following the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) rejection of management's paltry 4% pay offer.

Up to 30 brigades, including those in the South-West, Derbyshire, Norfolk, Leicestershire, Northants, Suffolk and Bedfordshire have began unofficial action, answering emergency calls only.

To the resounding approval of the mass of firefighters and their families protesting outside the pay talks, FBU general secretary Andy Gilchrist said: "Be very clear - the executive council are recommending national strike action."

Rousing cheers greeted CWU general secretary Billy Hayes' pledge that no postal worker would cross an FBU picket line. Hayes also demanded to know why the government could afford to go to war but not pay workers decent wages.

Strike action is no rash decision. Decades of under funding, chronic understaffing and low pay have compelled dedicated workers to take action.

A fully qualified firefighter earns 21,500 and many have to work unpaid overtime to cover under-crewing.

The current pay formula was negotiated in 1977, after the last national firefighters' strike. Since then there has been a massive increase in the number and complexity of calls and an erosion of wage rates. Many firefighters now have to claim state benefits to survive.

Management say they accept the current pay formula needs reviewing but for months refused to make any offer. Now they insist the derisory pay offer is linked to 'modernisation' and operational changes.

Firefighters and Emergency Fire Control Staff are determined to see the battle for decent pay through to the end. Opinion polls show they have the overwhelming support of the public.

Management claim lives will be put at risk if firefighters take industrial action. But responsibility for any strike rests with an intransigent management trying to get a vital service on the cheap.

The FBU recall national conference on 12 September will be recommending a strike ballot. Given the huge public support the full 30,000 claim can be won, inspiring other public-sector workers.

The FBU should approach other public sector unions, such as the CWU, UNISON, and the rail and teaching unions, about a one-day public sector strike against low pay.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 6 September 2002:

Fight for socialism

Support The Firefighters

War against Iraq: Unions Must Organise Opposition

Mass Protest Gave Workers A Voice

Brimming With Optimism For Socialism

A Year After 11 September: Will Bush launch a war on Iraq?

Socialism 2002

TUC conference: Critical Time For Trade Unionists


 

Home   |   The Socialist 6 September 2002   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Firefighters:

triangleSurrey firefighters to ballot on Christmas industrial action

triangleMajor funding for flood risk management needed

triangleGrenfell fire inquiry spin deflects blame from establishment

triangleGrenfell inquiry serves to deflect opinion away from the establishment

triangleMarch planned to save Bewdley Fire Station

Pay:

trianglePeterborough food workers picket and protest

triangleKeele university UCU picket line: Striking UCU members supported by students, Stoke Socialist Party members and NSSN supporters, 21.2.20, photo by Andy Bentley

triangle20 years of housing failure

triangleUniversity strikers walk out for better pay and pensions

Strike:

triangleWorkers call on Interserve bosses to recognise union

triangleEast London anti-academy strikes escalate

triangleHackney parking wardens strike for 15 an hour

FBU:

triangleGrenfell watch: Unions challenge 'mockery of justice'

triangleSouth Yorkshire defeats fire cuts

Public sector:

trianglePCS elections: Support socialist candidates

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

21/2/20

Socialism

Preparing for the post-Corbyn era

19/2/20

Poll tax

Couldn't pay, wouldn't pay, didn't pay: the battle to defeat the poll tax

19/2/20

Environment

Cuts and climate change cause floods

19/2/20

Tories

Javid's departure foreshadows deeper Tory divisions

19/2/20

Trans

Labour Party and trans rights

12/2/20

Terrorism

Streatham attack: Johnson's bill can't stop terror

12/2/20

Cuts

How to resist Tory attacks on local communities

12/2/20

Trade unions

Trade unions - new decade, new challenges

12/2/20

London

Council houses - not private property developers

12/2/20

Councillors

Cuts councillors are the real problem

12/2/20

NHS

NHS debt so high it can't be repaid - so don't pay it!

12/2/20

NHS

Unnecessary surgery scandal shows need for democratic control of NHS

12/2/20

NHS

NHS: Fight for full funding!

12/2/20

What We Heard

What We Heard

12/2/20

Them & Us

Them & Us

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999