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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.
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    The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

    The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

    The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

    • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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    • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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    In The Socialist 21 July 2010:

    Warning: NHS under attack


    Socialist Party youth and students

    Youth and students: organise to fight for a future


    Socialist Party Marxist analysis

    Class struggles on the rise


    Anti-cuts campaign

    Stand united, fight the cuts!

    Lessons of the cuts

    Education workers must teach Tories a lesson

    Fast news


    Socialist Party workplace news

    Union recommends BT pay deal

    Stop the courts closures

    Wales: No to fire service cuts

    Strike action wins at Tube Lines

    Swansea Linamar

    Cuts blogger!


    Socialist Party workplace analysis

    PCS: a strategy to stop the cuts

    TUC refuses national demo

    Unite the struggle to defend pensions


    Socialist Party NHS campaign

    Con-Dems propose denationalisation of the NHS


    Socialist Party

    The Socialist Party needs you!

    More join the Socialist Party in Yorkshire

    Funding the socialist fightback


    International socialist news and analysis

    Building new workers' parties and the tasks of socialists

    Egypt: Thousands protest over brutal police killing


    Comment

    Harder work, longer hours... All part and parcel?

    A testing 'pudding' for councillors

    Keep probation services public


     

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