Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/349/5787

From The Socialist newspaper, 29 May 2004

Greater Manchester Firefighters Stand Firm

AS WE went to press, 120 firefighters had been suspended across Greater Manchester. Last week a Salford watch refused to operate new equipment without the agreed pay rise. In the following hours, management scuttled from station to station, suspending every firefighter refusing the new contract.

Hugh Caffrey, Manchester

This left fire cover stretched dangerously thin. But to the rabidly anti-union employers, what does this matter?

By mid-afternoon on 19 May, many watches were suspended and unofficial action was snowballing. It appeared the employers were heading for a lock-out. The co-ordinated provocations by national and local employers leave little doubt this was engineered. But the firefighters remained resolute, they would not sign the new contracts.

An opinion poll put public support at 68% - probably an underestimate. Socialist Party members visited many stations in Manchester to show our support. Our Saturday stall declared "Support the firefighters - stop cuts to the fire service!" Within an hour we had spoken to dozens and dozens of people outraged at the employers for attacking the firefighters.

A temporary lull appeared to have set in by 24 May. National negotiations are taking place. Local boss Dixon has been unusually quiet. Several stations are shut. It appears the employers want to back-track and let firefighters' anger dissipate. This is temporary and a trick. The employers are determined to hammer through massive cuts threatening dozens of jobs and priceless public safety.

Determined industrial action can win, building active support in communities and workplaces. But after the last experience with the union tops, many firefighters are unsure of what lies ahead.

Manchester FBU is correctly balloting for discontinuous strike action in three weeks time. This must be fully discussed now by the membership across watches, stations and areas. Rank and file communication needs to be established as widely as possible. The situation remains explosive. We support the firefighters in every step taken to defend their jobs, conditions, and service.


Resisting Fire Service Cuts

OVER 100 people attended a public meeting against proposed cuts to Mossley fire service. So-called "down-grading" in reality means a massive cut to the current service, putting firefighters' jobs and people's lives at risk.

Elaine Healey, Tameside Socialist Party

Calls to Mossley fire station have increased by nearly 50% since 2001. Downgrading will mean that the 28 firefighters will reduce to 14, the fire station will be staffed from 9am-5pm Monday-Friday.

At weekends, the proposed hours are slightly different but firefighters will have pagers at home and will have to live five minutes from the station. No one knows whether it's five minutes on foot or by car!

No houses are being built or supplied to firefighters, they will have to purchase the houses themselves. That's completely unaffordable in the Mossley area.

The cuts to Mossley are part of the wider cuts to the fire service. Ashton fire station is being moved towards Manchester, putting an even greater stretch on Mossley and Stalybridge. Insurance costs will rocket - the banks understand what these cuts mean!

Socialist Party members in Tameside are supporting the campaign against the cuts. It's clear the management are digging their heels in. Fire Authority boss Dixon says if tragedies occur as a result of his cost-cutting, "I have broad shoulders". Not broad enough to attend public meetings though!

Socialist Party members are suggesting the campaign should be widened to include opposition to the rest of the cuts in Tameside. Pressure should be put on the local councillors and a demonstration should be called.


FIRE BRIGADE Union activists are considering the next move in their continuing pay dispute with the employers as we go to press. [News reports on the 27 May say that the firefighters union leaders will now recommend to their members an offer from the employers side.]

Talks were adjourned on Monday 24 May after the union had expressed its anger at the employers 'bully-boy' tactics and refused to agree to the employers suggested proposals for ending the dispute.

FBU leaders were reporting back to meetings of Brigade representatives and, whilst the prospect of further negotiations was left open, it was felt unlikely that any agreement would be reached.

The FBU executive was due to meet on Wednesday 26 May to consider the next step in forcing the employers to stop reneging on the pay deal. Left activists will be pushing for the union to formulate a plan of action to the reconvened FBU conference on 15 June which prepares for a national ballot to recommend strike action.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 29 May 2004:

The Real Cost Of War

Iraq: Bush's Plans For Puppet Regime


Socialist Party workplace news

Fight The Great Pensions Robbery

Greater Manchester Firefighters Stand Firm

United Action Can Defeat Bosses' Attacks

Tube Workers Ballot For Action

PCS Left Unity Landslide


Socialist Party campaigns

LibDems: Just another big business party

Coventry: Labour Should Feel Worried

Socialism 2004


Socialist Party features

Wanted: A Real Childcare Strategy

Gaza: Sharon's Scorched Earth Policy


 

Home   |   The Socialist 29 May 2004   |   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

Manchester:

triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleManchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation

Fire service:

triangleWhole establishment exposed for role in Grenfell fire

triangleMassive failings led to Grenfell Tower fire - Rapid, fully funded action now

FBU:

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

triangleTories weak: time for the TUC to act

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

PCS

Balloting members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns 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

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

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

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford 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