Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.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:

triangleSolidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide

triangleSurrey FBU pass no confidence motion

triangleSouth London tower block residents plan safety campaign

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleUnions call for action after Grenfell

Pay:

triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

Strike:

triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleCWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

FBU:

triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

triangleTories weak: time for the TUC to act

Public sector:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

19/10/17

Refugees

Hundreds of torture victims wrongly detained

18/10/17

Brexit

Tories torn - bin them now

18/10/17

What we saw

What we saw

18/10/17

Food

Obesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

18/10/17

NHS

Tories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

18/10/17

Debt

Young people being strangled by debts

13/10/17

Labour

The end of the Tories?

11/10/17

Tories

Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

11/10/17

Black history

The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

11/10/17

Housing

Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

11/10/17

Universal Credit

Major attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

11/10/17

Them & Us

Them & Us

11/10/17

NHS

NHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

11/10/17

IMF

IMF helps cause inequality it slams

4/10/17

NHS

Tories wreck our NHS

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2