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Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/10127

Posted on 20 August 2010 at 1:26 GMT

Support London Firefighters

Chief Fire Officer plans to sack every London Firefighter!

Despite the government's supposed commitment to 'protect frontline services', all London firefighters have been threatened with dismissal if they don't accept changes to their shift patterns that would result in massive cuts to the service.

London firefighters have been given two choices, accept the changes now, or be sacked and rehired on the changed contracts.

Disgracefully, the London Chief Fire Officer announced this on his personal blog! Now all 5,500 firefighters across the capital are on 90 day redundancy notice.

London has one of the busiest fire services in the world, in 2007/08 they had to respond to 144,753 emergency calls.

The changes to shift patterns would lead to a reduced night service and job losses. These attacks could cost lives!

Fire Brigade Union General Secretary Matt Wrack said in response to the attacks: "Sacking all of London's firefighters as a way of trying to impose new contracts is the action we would expect from Victorian mill owners - not from a modern public service.

I am sure Londoners will be appalled at how their firefighters are being treated. We will fight the disgraceful attack every step of the way."

The current shift system was fought for by workers in the fire service after the Second World War to turn it into a professional, public, modern service but now the clocks are being turned back.

On top of the shift changes firefighters also face an immediate pay freeze with no offer for 2010 and a two year pay freeze in line with the government's policy for all public sector workers.

Firefighters in South Yorkshire showed that these cuts can be defeated. When faced with the same shift system proposals, they were forced to take strike action to defend their service.

In the face of a brutal campaign of intimidation from the Chief Fire Officer and New Labour council, the South Yorkshire firefighters won.

The same tactics are needed in London. Firefighters will need the support of workers across the capital. Support their campaign to defend our fire service!

The 25% cuts across government departments including local government will mean further cuts to fire services.

These cuts will effect the quality of service to the public and will mean an inevitable loss of jobs and further attacks on conditions of service and pensions.

Whilst the banks that created this crisis continue to make huge profits and award £billions in bonuses after being bailed out with public money, ordinary people face the most brutal cuts to jobs and services since the 1920s.

We can't lie down and let these cuts happen. The Con-Dem government have shown with their cuts budget that their only concern is to protect the profits of their big business friends at the expense of ordinary people.

The Socialist Party gives our full support to the London FBU's campaign, including strike action if necessary, in defence of their jobs, conditions and service.

We say that the Trades Union Congress must call a national demonstration as a step towards a one day public sector strike against cuts.

Alongside this, anti-cuts unions (like the anti-poll tax unions) are needed across London to bring together all trade unionists, campaigners and others who want to fight these cuts.

The National Shop Stewards Network has called a lobby on 12 September outside the Trade Union Congress to put pressure on them to call a national demonstration.

London Socialist Party

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