Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

November 25, 2010 11:22 ET

Fire Brigades Union Response to Cllr Brian Coleman

LONDON, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Nov. 25, 2010) - The Fire Brigades Union today responded to Brian Coleman's remarks in this week's Ham and High, in which Mr Coleman says: "The union are thoroughly unpleasant and nasty lot – they always have been. They are not affiliated with the Labour Party and stories about bullying and intimidation go right back to the strike in the late 70s. You just have to stand up to thugs and bullies…. Most of the union officials, if they had half a brain cell, they'd be dangerous. Most of them are thick, can't string a sentence together and frankly are incoherent. "

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said:

"It is important, if industrial relations in the fire service are to get back on an even keel that we have someone sensible to talk to at the LFEPA. I have been afraid recently, as his remarks became wilder, that Mr Coleman was starting to lose the plot. It appears he has now lost it – I hope temporarily. If we all crouch in our dugouts screaming 'thick' and 'thug' and 'incoherent' and 'break the union' at each other, no progress will be made.

"So I'm not going to follow Mr Coleman's precedent of personal abuse. I will just point out that the only arrests made on November 1, when we had our one day strike, were of two of the drivers hired to break the strike, who drove vehicles at our members, so I hardly need to be lectured on intimidation by the chair of the LFEPA.

"All the FBU officials are, or were for many years, serving frontline firefighters – I did the job for 22 years – and were elected as representatives by our colleagues in the fire service. Mr Coleman may not like us much – indeed, it appears that he doesn't. But it's not up to him to decide who is elected to represent London firefighters. It's up to them, and they have chosen us. We don't mind being insulted, and we hope Mr Coleman feels better in a day or two, so that he can talk to us. 

"There are important things to talk about. There are the 27 fire engines which have been taken away from the London Fire Service. Until yesterday, Mr Coleman was saying they were taken away because they were not needed. Now we find they have been taken away because, in some way, Mr Coleman thinks it will punish the FBU. It doesn't punish the FBU; it punishes Londoners. If there is a major incident – say a terrorist incident – we will need every fire engine we have, and I hope they will be speedily returned to their fir stations and be ready for deployment."

Contact Information

  • Francis Beckett
    020 8349 9194
    07813 001372