Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

April 25, 2008 12:09 ET

Fire Brigade Union: West Midlands Fire Crews Give Overwhelming Backing to Colleagues Sacked Over Spoof Interview

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - April 25, 2008) - West Midlands fire crews have given their overwhelming support for two colleagues sacked over a spoof interview involving a new colleague. West Midlands Fire Brigade Union described the sackings as excessive and unwarranted.

The support was shown in the results of a consultative poll, conducted by Electoral Reform Services on behalf of the local FBU, sent to their member's homes. It found that...

- 98.5% of members agree with the principles of treating people with respect and would support the development of standards and principles of Equality & Diversity within the Fire Service

- Over 1/3rd felt they had insufficient knowledge and had received inadequate training to understand and comply with the Core Values of West Midlands Fire Service

- 98.8% believed that Mark Smith and Lee Evans did NOT deserve to be dismissed

- 99% support the FBU position for their fair treatment

An Employment Tribunal into the sackings, due to begin on Monday 28th at Birmingham, will deliberate on whether the two officers based at Brierley Hill fire station were unfairly dismissed.

Watch Commander Mark Smith and temporary Crew Commander Lee Evans were involved in a spoof "interview "during which one of the officers purported to be of Senior Officer Rank.The "interview" was filmed on camcorders. The new colleague, who was subject of the spoof, was not offended, made no complaint and asked when realising it had been recorded if it was possible to have a copy made to show friends and family.

It was only when a DVD of the 'interview' was produced that the two officers were disciplined and sacked for "bullying and harassment" by West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service management. Mark Smith had served in the fire service for 23 years and Lee Evans for 10 years.

Rosemarie Jones, West Midlands FBU Brigade Secretary said "This was a bit of harmless workplace humour which offended no-one. The sackings of Mark and Lee have caused outrage among their colleagues.

"There was no complaint from anyone involved and feel the whole episode has been blown out of all proportion by heavy-handed managers. If there had been a case of genuine bullying, harassment or victimisation we would not have taken the supportive stance that we have.

"On the contrary, the sacking of Mark and Lee undermines and belittles genuine cases of bullying and harassment which have no place in the fire service.

"The only victims here are two firefighters who have served their communities with distinction and pride for many years and have now been sacked. The only offence has been the outrage caused by the excessive punishment meted out and we believe both Mark and Lee should be re-instated".

Furthermore "99% of our members support our position".

Contact Information

  • Fire Brigades Union
    Rose Jones
    07967 440828
    Fire Brigades Union
    Mark Fellows
    0790 8586660
    Fire Brigades Union
    Chris Downes
    Membership Secretary
    0772 5251444