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9 December 2013
Surrey: over 200 march against fire station closures
Paul Couchman, Save Our Services in Surrey (SOSIS)
Representatives from every political party active in Spelthorne turned out to march in support of the campaign to save our fire stations - Labour, Lib Dems, the Socialist Party and even a few Tory councillors and a group from Ukip!
We had to tell some of the Ukip people they must take off their tabards which said "I want my country back" before they were allowed on the march.
There were residents from across the borough who marched side by side with trade unionists from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), Unison, PCS, NUT, NASUWT, UCU to name a few.
Led by an FBU fire appliance, over 200 people marched over three miles between Sunbury and Staines Fire Station to a chorus of supportive car horns and waving pedestrians. Anyone around cannot have missed the protest. Let's just hope we were loud enough for Surrey County Council to hear.
We held a brief but inspiring rally in the car park at Staines Fire Station and heard general secretary of the FBU, Matt Wrack, bring greetings from the national FBU and a clear, defiant message that we will continue to defend local services and fight the cuts.
Many unions are in dispute at the moment and others are balloting. We must link up these struggles and coordinate national action to defend jobs, services, pay, terms and conditions.
SOSIS will organise a public meeting early in the new year to discuss what happens next in the campaign. Currently it looks like we will need to lobby the County Council on 4 February when they are due to make the final decision.
- FBU members will be taking two four hour strikes on 13 and 14 December from 6pm against the attacks on firefighters' pensions, which include increasing firefighters' retirement age to 60.
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