Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/648/10673
Firefighters on the march
On 17 November FBU members from Gloucestershire joined the 2,000 firefighters who poured out of their rally at Westminster and blocked the road outside Parliament. Cheers and whistles went up when the crowd realised Prince Phillip was in one of the cars surrounded by firefighters.
Chris Moore, Gloucestershire Socialist Party
Marching en masse down Whitehall, Ian Leahair, FBU national executive member for London, addressed the impromptu crowd in front of the gates of Downing Street.He warned the government they would be back if it did not back down from their proposed vicious cuts to the fire service, which could mean 7,000 job cuts, attacks on pay and pensions, fragmentation of the service and looming privatisation.
I spoke to the Gloucestershire FBU members as they travelled together.
Brigade secretary Mike Tully explained that the impact of £3.6 million cuts to fire services in Gloucestershire could mean "90 redundancies, including uniformed and non uniformed".
He called response times a 'postcode lottery' because national standards were abolished after the last dispute. "Gloucestershire aims to get one pump to a life threatening instance within eight minutes on 75% of occasions, but what about the other 25% and there is no standard for arrival of the second pump."
FBU member Nick Sharpe was angry at plans to remove a specialist rescue appliance from Stroud, dealing with road accidents and trench and building collapses. It means at a road traffic accident "instead of seven people we'll have five on turnout, with less equipment."
FBU member Dave Smith added that: "Trench and building collapse equipment for the whole county will have to be called from Hereford or Avon." But that day Stroud Tory MP Neil Carmichael refused to sign the FBU petition calling for this equipment to stay.
Gloucester FBU member Claude Elliott said it was "always those at the bottom that hurt the most" from the cuts. He supported a call for a 24-hour public sector strike. Because he "can't see them taking notice of anything short of that". Mike, Nick and Dave agreed.
In The Socialist 23 November 2010:
Youth Fight for Education
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis