FBU have got it badly wrong with Bonfire night strike

People in the private sector are worrying about possible job losses because their companies are struggling to survive the recession.  Other Londoners have to absorb public spending cuts because Labour’s deficit has left us with no money.  They are doing it, for the most part, with stoicism.

Yet the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) has voted to strike.  Not because of job losses, pay cuts or longer hours but because of a small change to their shift patterns. These changes are designed to modernise the capital’s fire service, enabling firefighters do more fire prevention work during the day shift, preventing deadly fires and saving lives.

The change means that both day and night shifts will be 12 hours long, rather than the nine hour day and 15 hour night shift that currently exists. The sleep periods on night shifts and the opportunity for firefighters to have second jobs on their days off are both protected.

The FBU says these changes will jeopardise public safety, even though they have been successfully introduced in fire brigades across the country.  Despite all this, on the 1st and 5th of November FBU members will leave their posts.

FBU demonstrators block contract fire cover providers

You won’t see soldiers and Green Goddesses on the streets this time, the army is a bit busy at the moment in Afghanistan.  The head of London’s fire authority has contracted in 27 fire engines and 700 private firefighters to keep the capital protected.  No one is saying that this is as much cover as the full Fire Brigade would provide but the fire authority is making sure that Londoners aren’t left exposed.
The Union are trying to make it sound as though this is about 5,500 job losses and claim that they would call off the strike if negotiations take place, they fail to mention that these shift changes have been in negotiation for years.

Firefighters do an essential job and are willing to put their lives at risk, they have traditionally been held in high regard by the public.  But the FBU’s willingness to walkout on Bonfire night over such a trivial matter reflects very poorly on its leadership and its action won’t attract public sympathy.

4 responses to “FBU have got it badly wrong with Bonfire night strike

  1. Interesting article, thanks for sharing.

    My personal opinion on the matter is that employees have a right to work agreed hours. If the majority of employees do not agree to a change in those hours, then it's up to the people that are trying to negotiate the change to explain the decision, discuss solutions and compromise.

    Regardless of whether the above has been done or not and for however long, I find the threat of job cuts and contract terminations for failure to comply not only terribly unhelpful but utterly disgusting.

    As a member of the public, if my firefighters prefer working 9 hour days and 15 hour nights, then I am perfectly happy with that. They are already hours that I personally would not wish to work.

    These are our servicemen and women. They are paid so little, praised so little and yet they still conduct their heroic work as good as if not better than anywhere else in the world.

    As far as I am concerned, what's best for our firefighters is best for me.

    I support the strike action 100%.

  2. Back on the soap box again James?

    As mentioned previously try not to get involved in an issue that you have Political influence on.

    The only way to solve this is by meaningful negotiation, but it appears that the LFB are intent on steamrollering their agenda through the poor use of Section 188.

    By the way give Brian C all our love, and while he constantly denies that he will not sack Firefighters call him a lying Toady bastard as he has already stated within the media that he is relaxed in doing a “Reagan” i.e. sacking them.

    PS you seem happy in revealing your interest in the Brian Colemans Marmite? Can we take from this that you use to fag for him at some point?

    I notice that you are a Reservist, you will be shocked to hear that a number of Londons Firefighters are Reservists as well, but I am sure that you have not bumped into them anywhere sunny or sandy as yet. Pity as it may change your view on the meaning of “service” and how common the practice of the Government shitting on people who serve the public so well.

    Love to the boys.

    “A very annoyed tax payer who is sick and tired of Tory half wits sniping at loyal Civil servants”

  3. Annon,

    Do you really think that as a London politician it is wrong for me to comment on a political issue facing London? Seriously?

    I'm not shocked to hear that a number of firefighters are in the reserves, I welcome it.

    It seems that the personal abuse has come mainly from the FBU end and a few of those that support them, like yourself.

  4. Sadly with regards to the original poster, you will leave yourself open to abuse if you post what could be seen as provocative comments regarding the complex structure of the London Fire Service and what must be very delicate negotiations.

    Whilst I do not entirely agree with the original poster, I do understand the anger that must be felt by Fire-fighters. After all my study of the 188 process has been utilised not to concentrate minds to negotiate but to put a gun to the head of Londons Fire-fighters.

    However the only way this will ever be concluded is by meaningful negotiation, not striking.
    As a long suffering tax payer, I am annoyed that the likes of Brian Coleman enjoys the fact that he is controversial (anyone remember Alan B`star!), this is not the time to be confrontational or controversial after all no one likes a big head do they?

    The big problem with all of this industrial strife is what is in it for the Fire-fighters?
    Where is the incentive?
    Its very much sign this by the end of November or else…

    Offer the boys and girls an incentive, even if it is money.
    I understand the West Yorkshire Fire-fighters were awarded nearly £2000 for changing their contracts. Surly the LFB is not trying to save money?

    My understanding is that moral is at an all time low and if we are to enjoy a highly motivated Fire Service of the future you cannot force employees to perform. Abraham Maslow would be very upset!

    As regards to your comments, keep them coming, some of us enjoy free debate but lets remember to do our homework first and not put a biased point of view across, keep it balanced as I am sure their are many Fire-fighters who live in Bexley and Chislehurst who could take huge offence to under-researched material being posted.

    To end this post, any chance you could have a quite word with Mr Coleman, and tell him the days of the “new statesman” are dead and perhaps it might be time for some tact in resolving what I understand to be the biggest and most dangerous internal issue the LFB have ever faced.


    A resident.

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