Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

July 13, 2010 07:29 ET

Six Thousand Firefighters Threatened With Sack-by Blog

LONDON, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - July 13, 2010) -

Operational note: meeting at London today 

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has condemned the commissioner of the London Fire Brigade after he made a posting on his personal blog which threatened the entire workforce with the sack if their union doesn't agree to controversial changes to contracts.

Brigade chief Ron Dobson is attempting to drive through contentious shift changes, and revealed in a blog post to staff on 9 July that he will recommend in a paper to be put to political bosses that they terminate the contract of every firefighter if no agreement is reached. In that paper, the commissioner tells fire authority politicians that they should "Commence formal consultation under section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (s.188 TULRCA)," if talks with the union fail. The commissioner goes on to acknowledge in the paper that such a move would constitute "dismissal". In his blog post, the commissioner tells staff: "Termination of employment is not a course of action I want to take. It can be avoided."

The FBU says that the brigade's plans to introduce 12-hour shifts will wreak havoc on members' family lives and pave the way for reductions in fire cover.

The union's regional official Paul Embery said, "We've heard stories of companies sacking employees by text, but this must be the first time an employer has threatened to sack people by personal blog. Our members are dedicated, and in many cases very longstanding, employees of the London Fire Brigade. They have devoted their entire careers to protecting the people of London. So for them to turn up for work and be told by their boss, via his personal blog, that they will be sacked if their union does not agree to these detrimental changes is an absolute outrage.

"The discussions over the brigade's proposals are at a very delicate stage, and a make-or-break meeting between the brigade and union is scheduled for Tuesday, so the commissioner's comments could not have been more ill-timed.

"The commissioner appears to be saying, 'Give in to my demands, or I will sack the lot of you,' and that is no way to treat loyal emergency service workers." The union says it will launch an immediate ballot for strike action in the event that the brigade imposes unwelcome change.

Contact Information

  • Fire Brigades Union
    Paul Embery
    07854 998508
    Fire Brigades Union
    Helen Hague
    07889 792360