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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 July 2010

Wales: No to fire service cuts

"It shows how far they'll go in making these cuts-they're willing to put our lives at risk. All the rich mates of these politicians have to do is whistle and they get handed billions of pounds of our money and then they tell us there's not enough left to run emergency services!"

Ross Saunders, Cardiff Socialist Party

This was the response of one person who signed the Socialist Party's petition against cuts in the fire service planned for South Wales.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has reported that 50 jobs could be lost as part of the fire service's mis-named 'Risk Reduction Plan'. Three fire stations have been targeted first for cuts - in Maesteg, New Inn Pontypool and also Penarth, which lost 12 firefighters 18 months ago and could now lose another 16.

The fire authority has been ordered to make 4.5 million worth of cuts over five years, first by the last Labour government and now by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition.

Clearly a strategy to reduce fire cover in South Wales exists - and this is from an already low level. FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said that 3,000 firefighters' jobs were lost in the last five years under Labour - now the Con Dem government wants to cut into the very bones of the service.

South Wales FBU chair Mark Watt has warned that the cuts faced today are the "thin end of the wedge" and South Wales FBU secretary Cerith Griffiths told the local press that firefighters could have no option but to take strike action to stop the plan. 80 firefighters protested outside the fire authority's last meeting but their request to address the meeting was denied.

Like other public sector workers, firefighters are also facing a pay freeze and attacks on their pension entitlements.

The Socialist Party says:

  • No cuts to the fire service. No job losses, no reduction in fire cover.
  • Full support to the FBU's fight to save jobs and services.
  • For public sector workers to link up to fight the cuts.
  • Link up the trade unions with service users in local anti-cuts committees and Save our Services groups.
  • For the trade union movement to call a national demonstration to defend the public sector as a step towards further coordinated action.
  • For politicians to refuse to implement cuts. Make the billionaires pay for their crisis.
  • Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


    In The Socialist 21 July 2010:

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    Union recommends BT pay deal

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    Wales: No to fire service cuts

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    Swansea Linamar

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