Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/359/5907
From The Socialist newspaper, 21 August 2004
New Labour at war with firefighters
OUR MEMBERS are furious at the way our agreed deal has been sabotaged
by local government minister Nick Raynsford and his New Labour government.
They want to wreck our pay settlement and smash our union.
Neil MacPherson, Mid and West Wales FBU Brigade Secretary
At the negotiations between the employers' team and the union
negotiators all outstanding issues were agreed for a final settlement to
this long-running dispute. Then, at a full meeting of the employers, the
negotiating team's recommendation was voted down by the decisive
intervention of seven councillors from London who had stepped in to
replace colleagues on holiday.
These seven councillors had not been involved in any previous
negotiations, knew nothing about the deal, were not members of any fire
authority and were simply brought in to vote the settlement down!
The employers have now sent out a letter to our members urging them to
vote 'No' in our strike ballot claiming the main obstacle to an agreement
is the issue of bank holiday working. This is a complete red herring
designed to cause confusion over the government's real agenda which is to
undermine even further our pay and conditions.
On bank holiday working, the negotiating team had agreed a form of
words which was acceptable to both parties. In effect our members already
carry out almost all normal working practices on bank holidays. It is not
the FBU that is causing a danger to the public on bank holidays, as the
government claim. The employers have cut back on staff during these public
holidays in order to save on wages.
The anger felt by our members over this cynical attempt to prevent a
settlement being reached will hopefully result in a big 'Yes' vote for
action. Our members are already owed £1.5 million in back pay, on average
£600 - £800 per person. We have already given up a hell of a lot and we
want to see an end to this two-year dispute. But if the government thinks
it can just ride roughshod over the FBU then it had better start thinking
- The ballot result will be announced at the end of August.
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In The Socialist 21 August 2004:
Warning: Public Sector Under Attack
Action needed across the public sector
New Labour at war with firefighters
The fighting spirit that saved a pit
Know your rights
Europride Manchester: Stop bullying and discrimination
International socialist news and analysis
Resistance in Iraq
Oil prices set to rock world economy
Armed intervention in Sudan must be opposed
Venezuela referendum - corrupt elite lose again
Boston: Hundreds pack Ralph Nader meeting
Building for a socialist world
Workplace news and analysis
Swansea staff fight outsourcing
Yorkshire bus drivers: Determination pays off
The Socialist 21 August 2004 |
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