Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

October 12, 2010 08:29 ET

Senior Management in Essex Throws Their Weight About and Tries to Stop FBU Meeting From Going Ahead

ESSEX, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Oct. 12, 2010) - On Thursday firefighters from across the county of Essex will be gathering at a secret location in Basildon. The meeting was originally planned to be going ahead at Basildon Fire Station, but the senior management of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service told FBU members at the last minute, that they would not be allowed to use Basildon fire station as the venue for this event, therefore they have been forced to walk down the road to an alternative secret location for fear of being disciplined. This is despite the fact that firefighters are entitled to hold a legitimate trade union meeting in a workplace and have clearly had that right withdrawn from them.

Essex FBU Brigade Secretary Keith Flynn said;

"It is extremely disappointing that Senior Management have tried to scupper this meeting from going ahead at such short notice, as we thought they would welcome the fact that a senior figurehead like FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack would be speaking about such things as joint working with fire authorities across the country with the FBU to ensure essential frontline 999 services are protected.

"This joint approach is clearly not wanted by the Essex Management Team. Three months ago the FBU were invited to take part in Transformation and Consultation meetings to discuss such things as the future of ECFRS after the Comprehensive Spending Review is announced. We were subsequently told, after a number of requests from ourselves for a date for this meeting, that we would be notified in due course and given plenty of notice to come along and take part in any discussions with a view to a joint approach in going forward. That three month consultation period is at its end now and we have still heard nothing from the service."

The meeting involving the FBU General Secretary has been called so that firefighters have a chance to listen to and question Matt Wrack about, amongst other things, the recently released Hutton Interim Report into public service pensions and follows on from the recent release of a YouGov survey commissioned by The Fire Brigades Union which shows that:

  • 85% of people asked opposed the government plans to cut funding in the Fire & Rescue Service;
  • 95% of those asked think despite the economic crisis, we need to keep at least the same number, or employ more firefighters;
  • 95% agree that a rapid response to fires should be a high priority.

FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack said;

"For people who find themselves in 999 emergencies, the fire and rescue service is the frontline of the frontline. Professionals in the fire service know that getting enough firefighters to emergencies as quickly as possible is essential for public safety and firefighter safety. No amount of clever spin can change that fact. And the YouGov poll shows that the public know it too."

"This is important because those who wish to cut the service often suggest that such things as public education, fire prevention advice and fire risk assessments should have a higher priority than the emergency response to fires. Government policy makers have been attempting to undermine the importance of emergency response to fires for some time. This approach is the complete opposite of what the public want from their fire service.

"Most people agree with the FBU that getting to fires fast is a key priority, and every time you cut the number of firefighters or close a fire station or leave a fire engine without a sufficient crew, you make the response time slower. This approach will put the lives of the public and of firefighters at risk. It will also push up the economic losses from fire as fires will be bigger by the time firefighter's arrive." said Mr. Wrack.

The meeting is this Thursday 14th October and is to begin at 6pm, but media interviews with the General Secretary and other officials can be arranged between 5.00pm and 5.45pm.

ENDS

NOTE FOR EDITORS

YouGov surveyed 1,020 adults between 16–27th August 2010. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from a YouGov Plc survey commissioned by The Fire Brigade Union. The survey was carried out online among a nationally representative sample of 1020 adults aged 18+ in the UK between 16-27th August 2010. Data is weighted to be nationally representative based on age, gender, social grade and region.

Contact Information

  • Keith Flynn
    07956 459111
    or
    Mark Kinsalla
    07967 720363
    or
    Adrian Clarke
    07917 017713