The Socialist

The Socialist 9 May 2018

Tories out!

The Socialist issue 994

Home   |   The Socialist 9 May 2018   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Facebook   Twitter

West Midlands firefighters ballot for action against the undermining of the fire service

Firefighters striking in 2013, photo Paul Mattsson

Firefighters striking in 2013, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Bob Severn, Birmingham South East Socialist Party

'Congratulations on becoming a firefighter - now go and pick up a hospital patient and cross your fingers that no one needs a fire put out while you're at it.' That is the barmy future planned for firefighters by the Labour-led West Midlands Fire Authority, but a future that won't be accepted by firefighters and emergency control operators, who are now balloting for strike action.

The planned contracts would mean new firefighters having to take on non-fire service duties - like those you'd expect NHS workers to be employed to do.

In fact, it's already happening - loss-making 'care contracts' signed by the fire authority have already taken fire staff and engines off frontline duties.

These changes come under what firefighters describe as an anti-union, bullying management that is also introducing flexible working - that's flexible for the bosses of course, changing working hours at short notice.

Dial-a-firefighter: the gig economy for trained emergency staff, implemented by a Labour-led fire authority which is also suspending employees for union campaigning. No wonder Fire Brigade Union (FBU) members have had enough!

On 30 April, the day before balloting began, FBU general secretary Matt Wrack spoke to many union members at meetings in Solihull and Dudley.

Socialist Party members gave support to the firefighters at the Solihull meeting, who were glad to hear that anti-cuts TUSC candidates are standing in the 3 May local elections against right-wing, anti-union, anti-Corbyn Labour councillors - the sort that lead the county's fire authority. Ten copies of the Socialist were bought.

Last year saw Birmingham's bin workers take strike action to stop job cuts and savage pay cuts attempted by the city's Labour council - showing that organised, hard fought action can win. As one person going into the meeting said: "This could be the 2018 Birmingham bins."

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 2 May 2018 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

In this issue

Local elections 2018

Local election results are a major warning sign for Labour

The Tusc results

Southampton: Keith Morrell, anti-cuts councillor, re-elected

Haringey councillors need to fight austerity now

TUSC vote up in Waltham Forest but many voters stay away

TUSC stands against Birmingham council's cuts and attacks on workers

Strong TUSC result in Huddersfield

France '68

France '68: History's greatest general strike erupts

Socialist Party news and analysis

US president suggests gun control to blame for London knife deaths

Use TUC march as launch pad for action on pay

Breast cancer screening scandal


Socialists fight for Palestinian liberation and workers' unity

Socialists in Israel-Palestine reject establishment antisemitism charge against Jeremy Corbyn


Roger Shrives, 5 April 1947 - 1 May 2018

Keith Pattenden 28 September 1955 - 1 May 2018

Obituary: Tony Byrne 1939 - 2018

Socialist Party workplace news

Hull Energy Works: Unofficial strike action reinstates victimised workers

Defend Hull FE College - defend our city!

Victory against academisation at Avenue Primary

Firefighters ballot for action

PCS: A fighting strategy to defeat the Tory pay cap

International socialist news and analysis

Teachers revolt in Trump country

China: Impressive, coordinated and daring crane drivers' strikes

CWI news in brief


Home   |   The Socialist 9 May 2018   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

9 May 2018