Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/591/7663

From The Socialist newspaper, 26 August 2009

South Yorks firefighters plan industrial action

South Yorkshire firefighters could soon be taking strike action for the first time since the national dispute in 2002. They are angry at management's attempts to impose changes in shift patterns, especially longer day shifts of 12 hours, that would be detrimental to childcare and family life.

Alistair Tice

Since 17 June, Fire Brigade Union (FBU) members are, after a 3:1 vote for industrial action short of a strike, only working their contractual nine-hour shifts and refusing to work any pre-arranged overtime.

In response, the chief and deputy chief fire officers (DCFO), backed by the Labour-controlled fire authority, have threatened to sack 744 whole-time firefighters on 1 January 2010 if they do not sign up for the new shift patterns.

The DCFO Steve Swarbrick challenged the union to produce the evidence of these threatened mass sackings.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary said: "Managers, backed by councillors, are threatening to sack 744 firefighters. This decision was taken behind closed doors at a fire authority meeting from which the public and media were excluded.

"It is ridiculous for the fire authority to deny they are threatening to sack 744 firefighters. They have sent the union the formal signed notification setting those sackings out in detail."

The FBU are now consulting members at fire stations across South Yorkshire with a view to holding an official ballot for strike action. Yorkshire and Humberside executive committee member Jerry Pagan told The Socialist: "These imposed shift changes are the last straw in a long list of intimidation and heavy-handed bully-boy tactics by a South Yorkshire management who won't conduct proper meaningful negotiations."

A mass rally of firefighters has been called for Monday 28 September in Barnsley to mobilise national support for the South Yorkshire FBU with up to 1,000 expected. This dispute reflects increasing unrest amongst firefighters nationally as the government wants to make 200 million cuts and bullying management try to impose changes in conditions.

Essex and Humberside brigades have voted for industrial action short of a strike and London FBU have just begun a strict work to rule and overtime ban after a 91% vote in favour of action. Merseyside FBU gave the employers the required seven days notice of commencement of a strike ballot unless the fire authority reinstate sacked, victimised FBU official Kevin Hughes.

The New Labour government and fire service management seem to be preparing for a showdown with the FBU.

The Observer reported on 2 August: "Tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money is being awarded to the private sector to train non-firefighters to tackle blazes if the brigades are over-stretched or go on strike. The move has been condemned by unions as 'privatised strike-breaking', but is considered necessary in Whitehall because the army, which has previously provided cover during strikes, is overstretched fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"In the first contracts of their kind, a private company, AssetCo, based in Middlesex, has signed deals to provide emergency replacement cover if firefighters strike. A 12 million five-year deal with the London service will see up to 700 people from outside the service trained with basic emergency firefighting skills. The company has also signed a deal with the Lincolnshire brigade (which has threatened to sack 112 firefighters in February if they don't agree shift changes) and other regions are expected to follow London's lead."

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


In The Socialist 26 August 2009:

Jobs and education not dole and debt


War and occupation

Afghanistan: Withdraw foreign troops


Socialist Party NHS campaign

No to health privatisation and 'the market'

Private Finance Initiative still threatens NHS future


Socialist Party campaign news

Vestas workers fight on

Ireland - workers campaign against Lisbon Treaty

Recession threat grows

Time to Fight Back: demonstrate at TUC conference


Socialist Party workplace news

Construction workers defending jobs and conditions

Postal strike reports

Fiddlers Ferry protest continues

South Yorks firefighters plan industrial action


Youth fight for jobs

No to Future Jobs Fraud scheme

Leaving education: comment

Youth Fight for Jobs action

Socialist Students and Youth Fight for Jobs campaign material


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

World recession, revolution and counter-revolution in Latin America


Socialist Party news and analysis

March shows growing opposition to far right BNP

Daventry: socialist candidate in council by-election

Passengers want publicly owned buses


Unison witchhunt

Unison witch-hunt/employment tribunal: The truth is coming out


Housing crisis

How safe are our houses?


Global Warming

Poorest suffer globally from climate change


 

Home   |   The Socialist 26 August 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Firefighters:

triangleStaines fire services saved

triangleFire service victory

triangleSolidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide

triangleSurrey FBU pass no confidence motion

triangleSouth London tower block residents plan safety campaign

Strike:

triangleUCU members vote to end pensions dispute

triangleBromley libraries - indefinite strike action continues

triangleFCC Wilmington refuse workers' strike in hull stands firm

triangleMcStrike: ballot for strike action at six McDonald's stores

FBU:

triangleTrade unionists march to defend 650 local jobs

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

triangleTories weak: time for the TUC to act

Yorkshire:

triangleSave our NHS candidate contesting South Yorkshire mayor election

triangleBuilding fund appeal

Matt Wrack:

triangleUnions call for action after Grenfell

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

18/4/18

UCU

UCU members vote to end pensions dispute

18/4/18

Usdaw

Usdaw conference 2018: time for new era of fighting trade unionism

18/4/18

Leeds

Victorious Fearnville Fields campaigners thank the Socialist

18/4/18

Hull

Hull says no to war, no to austerity

18/4/18

The Socialist

The Socialist - a fighting, campaigning, workers' paper

18/4/18

Socialist Party

Building fund: 150,000 milestone smashed!

18/4/18

Fighting Fund

Give us your change (and more) to fight for system change!

18/4/18

Scotland

Workers' victory over anti-union Scottish council

18/4/18

Newham

Avenue School strikers and parents win judicial review

18/4/18

PCS

Vote for a left, fighting PCS leadership

18/4/18

PCS

PCS rejects Acas offer - further strikes announced

18/4/18

Bromley

Bromley libraries - indefinite strike action continues

18/4/18

Butterfields

Butterfields tenants join TUSC campaign

13/4/18

Cuts

Fighting the cuts to women's services

11/4/18

Health

May elections: a chance to fight attacks on health and social care

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999