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#907400 - 30th Oct 2014 9:23am firefighters to walk out for five days
Mark Online   Reading

Wiki Master

Registered: 9th Nov 2003
Posts: 20941
Loc: Wirral
WIRRAL firefighters will walk out for five consecutive days later this week as part of an on-going national dispute over pensions.

The 96-hour strike has been called in response to government plans to make firefighters work up to 60.

It will take place from 6pm on Friday, October 31 until 6pm on Tuesday, November 4.

A spokesman for Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service said: "The public should be reassured that our staff will maintain a significant emergency response capability during industrial action from October 31 to November 4 and 999 calls will be responded to as normal.

"We will also continue our community fire safety work Ė recognising the importance of providing fire safety information at such a time.

"As this is over Halloweíen and leading up to Bonfire Night, we would ask the public to show extra care and vigilance during this period of industrial action."

Negotiations between Fire Brigades Union and Department for Communities and Local Government have been taking place for three years, both the union and government have undertaken work examining financial, technical and legal issues.

Mark Rowe, from Merseyside Fire Brigades' Union told the Globe: "We've been incredibly tolerant in recent months because we have actually suspended strike action so talks can continue.

"In my view, other areas of the United Kingdom have resolved this issue, but we haven't done so in England.

"Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have agreed deals with fire unions.

"If Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can resolve this issue and we can't here, what's going on here.

"I would invite members of the public to speak to the fire fighters during the strike to find out why the walk-out is important.

"I'm still yet to meet anyone who thinks that having firefighters approaching their 60s climbing up to window of a burning building to rescue people is acceptable."

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#907423 - 30th Oct 2014 11:35am Re: firefighters to walk out for five days [Re: Mark]
granny Offline
Wiki Master

Registered: 29th Jun 2011
Posts: 13254
Loc: Wirral
Whilst supporting our Firefighters, as we know they provide a wonderful service for us all, I have yet to understand why strike action would need to be taken at the most vulnerable time of year.
We are told :

"A spokesman for Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service said: "The public should be reassured that our staff will maintain a significant emergency response capability during industrial action from October 31 to November 4 and 999 calls will be responded to as normal " why are they bothering? It will obviously have little impact and they shall manage with reduced staff anyway.
Is this about pensions or having to work until 60 , or the Unions trying to cause a rift ?
We've had the nurses, I suppose the Police will be out in the next few weeks.
So strange how everything coincides with an up and coming General election. They call it general unrest and it's not always possible to know if the majority of Union Members are in favour. Quite often they are not and the Unions act like little Hitlers, dictating their members actions.
In this instance, my empathy has just gone back down the hose.

Edited by granny (30th Oct 2014 11:36am)
...and those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.FN

#907446 - 30th Oct 2014 3:15pm Re: firefighters to walk out for five days [Re: granny]
CVCVCV Offline
Forum Addict

Registered: 4th May 2010
Posts: 1440
Loc: ex Wallasey now Atlanta GA USA

#907735 - 1st Nov 2014 10:04am Re: firefighters to walk out for five days [Re: Mark]
AR_One Offline

Registered: 14th Nov 2007
Posts: 435
Loc: Wirral
Being an ex employee of MFRS I've seen both sides of this and very much understand the annoyance of Fire Fighters to having their T&Cs changed whilst they're part way through their careers but as Granny mentions, taking strike action on the weekend when they're most required is (in my opinion) counter productive - it will upset the public and will also show that less firefighters can provide the service thus justifying further cuts.

#907751 - 1st Nov 2014 12:32pm Re: firefighters to walk out for five days [Re: granny]
casper Offline
Forum Addict

Registered: 13th May 2012
Posts: 1141
Loc: wallasey
Got to disagree with you granny, how can unions act like little Hitlers? when there is that much anti union legislation (the stiffest in Europe)that it is impossible to manipulate eg: postal ballot vote, the action policy is also decided by the members ie the union,the action is designed to show what could happen at key times should there be no cover,to make the biggest impact, however this government has little or no interest what happens to the majority of people in this country.

We have fought wars all over the world some rightly so, some for the benefit of the elitist set, the money people,the tax avoiders, the very people that are selling our country and its infastructure for personal gain now, it is they that are ruining the futures of our children and our country the capitalist spivs, yet when people make a stance to defend their livelyhoods they are criticised and denigrated (the enemy within)had it not been for trade unions we would still be stuck in the Downton Abbey era,we need to wake up because were heading back that way.

#907766 - 1st Nov 2014 1:47pm Re: firefighters to walk out for five days [Re: casper]
granny Offline
Wiki Master

Registered: 29th Jun 2011
Posts: 13254
Loc: Wirral
Not going to argue with you Casper but like it or not, it's the Capitolist system that pays your pension. Investment by the pension companies in shares is unfortunately not as lucrative as it was, and declined greatly between the years of 1997 and 2010.

More companies sold off to foreigners during the same years. Minimum wage succeeded in reducing the wages companies would need to pay to their employees, then subsidised to individuals from the government, as Working Tax Credit. That in itself was a great selling point to foreign companies to buy ours British companies.
Longer working hours for full time employees, fewer full time jobs at lower end of the market,more 21hour job share schemes, subsidised by the government, which kept the unemployment figures down and the wealthy companies accumulating massive wealth to be distributed in bonus schemes. Twelve month contracts introduced, so people were unable to have holiday pay and sickness pay. Plus much more, all came into effect during our magnificent Labour Government, and where were the Unions during those years, why didn't they come out and support those workers then? The small groups of people who collectively add up to many, but were very cleverly forgotten about. We (work colleagues) paid our Union membership and when we needed them, they were not even interested enough to advise us what was happening....and that being nothing !
We do judge by our experiences in such matters and the Unions to me are mouth pieces for justification of their own positions and their £140,000.00 salaries. SO don't quote the wealthy as some of the most wealthy are those who decry the wealth of others. Two faced and hypocritical. Unions only like to make a big noise because it keeps them in the limelight. Unions advised many over the years on what action to take, thus culminating in massive job losses. Merchant Navy in particular.

So now I will agree to disagree. That's me done laugh
Love you ..

Edited by granny (1st Nov 2014 1:50pm)
...and those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.FN

#907772 - 1st Nov 2014 4:08pm Re: firefighters to walk out for five days [Re: Mark]
casper Offline
Forum Addict

Registered: 13th May 2012
Posts: 1141
Loc: wallasey
Some good points well made granny, seems like you have had a negative experience with a union, you mention the Merchant Navy could it be the seamans union? if so I can understand were you are coming from, a right sweetie club, I was in the MN during the sixties, rumour had it that the general sec bought his daughter a car as a wedding present off the members, was his name Slater? I think, you had to have your card stamped up before you could sign on, but apart from that I have always had a fair shake with my other unions, looks like we have had different experiences which will colour our points of view.

love you too granny

#907802 - 1st Nov 2014 7:28pm Re: firefighters to walk out for five days [Re: Mark]

Wiki Master

Registered: 29th Aug 2008
Posts: 18950
Loc: Bob Land
Open Letter to the Public
Dear Citizen of the United Kingdom,

It is with a heavy heart that I feel I have to write to you. I am a Firefighter and I feel itís my duty to explain to you why I have chosen to take Industrial Action. This Iím afraid is the only option I have left. I have spent my working life serving you. I have seen and done things that nobody should ever have to, but I do it and live with the scars because I am Firefighter, itís what I do. I am there when you need me the most, willing to lay my life on the line to help you and your family in your darkest hour. I am not a hero, in fact I resent that title. I am a human being just like you, only a human who has dedicated their life to train and train and train again for any situation. Who has fought through heat and smoke to be there when you need me the most. Who has studied for hours numerous cars to know the best way to cut you free. Who has swum in icy lakes to save you from drowning. This is to name but a few. I donít do it for thanks, I donít do it for praise, I donít do it for money, I do it because I am a Firefighter. Itís what I do. The only thing I ask, which I never thought Iíd have to, is to be treated fairly and with respect.

The current Government have decided that since the financial crisis, people like me will have to pay for it. People who are easy targets. This not only includes nurses, teachers, police, ambulance staff and other essential services, but people who rely on benefits through no fault of their own to survive. We continue to be penalised while the real crooks get away with it. The Government have decided my future and I must accept whatever decision they seem fit. No negotiation, no looking at any evidence provided, just dictating what I must concede to. This I can not do. It is not in my nature to lie down and accept what is unfair and unjust. I am a Firefighter, the clue is in my title, I will fight for what I feel is right just as much as I would fight for you or your familyís life.

This weekend sees 96 hours of Industrial Action been taken all over England. In Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, Industrial Action will be avoided as negotiations have taken place and the relevant authorities have seen sense in sitting round a table and compromising to find a solution. I am bitterly disappointed that the current Conservative Government, particularly Eric Pickles along with the current Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt and former Fire Minister Brandon Lewis, think so little of us that this has not been an option.

It has become apparent that members of the public think that I am asking for more pension and more pay. This is certainly not the case, even if the Government let you believe this. I am not asking for a single penny more. Just what I signed up to and what I was told I was guaranteed. The Government have started to lay new pension regulations which will be unattainable for many Firefightersí. The Fire Brigade Union has plenty of evidence to back this up*. In my 50ís, I will be asked to take a fitness test which hasnít been laid out in writing, so I have no idea what it will involve. If I fail the unknown test I will face the choice of dismissal or a heavily reduced pension. A decision I feel is immoral for just getting older. The Government are also taking more pension contributions for longer and then paying out less. This is unacceptable without any negotiation. The last time I checked we were in a Democracy, not a Dictatorship. My message to the Government is simple. Negotiate with us, donít put us in a situation where we have no choice but to strike. Itís not fair on Firefighters or the Public. You have a responsibility to all of us. Take it seriously. This is not a game.

Please do not think that the decision to take Industrial Action has been taken lightly. It pains me that this has been our only option and even now the Government refuse to negotiate. I wish for no lives to be endangered, but this is only the beginning of our fight. More cuts are to come. You will have less and less Firefighters, less and less Fire Stations. Fire Engines are becoming a thing of the past as 4◊4ís and even Miniís are being used. I hope that you can support me in this time of need and put pressure on your MP to challenge the way that I have been treated and the way the future looks for your Fire and Rescue Service. The Government will try to tell you Fires are a thing of the past. This is not true. We still face overwhelmingly difficult fires on a daily basis across the UK. The Government however fail to tell you that flooding has significantly increased. They fail to tell you how the Fire and Rescue Service have had to face new threats with Terrorism as 7/7 showed. We face new challenges with more and more chemicals that are used in the modern world. The Government donít tell you that much of what I do isnít in my Ďrole mapí but I do it voluntary so I can deal with anything thrown at me. We may be called Firefighters, but fires are only the start of it.

I implore you to speak to your MP and tell them your feelings. You can find them here Go out and show your support on the picket lines. Speak to a Firefighter, they will be happy to answer any questions you have. We need you! Help us to stand up for the future of not only ourselves, but the future of the Fire and Rescue Service in England.

Thank you for reading.

Yours sincerely

A Firefighter of England.

Mia Mabel

#907816 - 1st Nov 2014 8:42pm Re: firefighters to walk out for five days [Re: RUDEBOX]
Bennie Offline

Registered: 26th Jun 2012
Posts: 103
Loc: Wirral
Thank you for that full and comprehensive summation of the situation for yourself and other fire fighters. I totally understand why you feel you must take some action and feel that you are completely justified. good luck to all the people who are taking part.

Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow but never jam today.



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