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FIREFIGHTERS have to be “part of an agenda that seeks to defeat this zombie government,” union leader Matt Wrack has said.
Speaking at the FBU’s conference in Blackpool yesterday, the union’s general secretary spoke of the need to defend fire services and the conditions of staff under the Tories.
He said: “This government has got away with nine years of austerity.
“They are implementing unlawful duty systems as a way of getting rid of established working methods at a particular fire station.
“Austerity also continues in terms of cuts to public services, to our NHS, to education.
“We see station closures and loss of fire engines on an unprecedented scale.
“This is an attack on working people in Britain, on people who didn’t cause a world economic crisis, but are being asked to pay the price for it.
“We have to be part of an agenda that seeks to defeat this zombie government, a government that is in name only.”
Mr Wrack applauded FBU members for successfully delivering a ballot to reject new terms and conditions presented by fire service management, which would redefine the role of a firefighter into an essentially unlimited role.
“Within a week’s notice, we launched a ballot,” he said. “At such short notice, we met the threshold that would be applied had this been an industrial action ballot.
“We had 97 per cent of members rejecting the employer’s pay proposal – you wonder who the other 3 per cent are, it was an overwhelming endorsement.”
Although he did not call for strike action, he did concede that striking is something firefighters “inevitably have to consider.”
However, he urged union activists to fight for building the union’s stance against the new definition of a firefighter’s role in the workplace.
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