Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

October 15, 2010 07:44 ET

Would You Trust This Company With Your Family's Safety?

LONDON, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Oct. 15, 2010) - When London's firefighters go on strike, the safety of Londoners will be in the hands of an international company whose chief executive officer, John Shannon, receives an annual bonus of £400,000 and salary of £300,000, largely paid for by London council tax payers. This sum would employ more than 20 firefighters, Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said today (Friday).

"Last year the company, Assetco, made a £10.8 million increase in profits, again largely wrung from its biggest client, the London Fire Brigade" said Mr Wrack. "Mr Shannon is far from their only fat cat. Many of the directors are on stunningly large salary and bonus packages, and also hold several other directorships.

"Assetco will deploy at most just 700 poorly trained employees to try to do the work of nearly 6,000 highly professional London firefighters" said Mr Wrack. "In fact, they are understood informally to have just half that number. They are very secretive about who these employees are.

"Assetco's temporary workforce have been secretly trained in Lincolnshire at a former RAF base. But the nature and length of that training is a closely guarded secret. We hear informally that it is just a few days. You cannot train a fully competent firefighter in a few days.

"They will operate from 27 locations, instead of London's 113 fire stations, and they will use 27 fire engines instead of the normal 169.

"The London Fire Brigade is by far Assetco's biggest customer, according to its website, "the business is built around a cornerstone 20-year operational asset management contract with the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) for London Fire Brigade.' Its other clients are the Abu Dhabi government, the UAE government, and Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue.

"In February 2001 it secured a 20-year PFI contract to own and manage all London fire engines and equipment. London's fire engines, which used to belong to Londoners, now belong to Assetco.

"In July 2009 AssetCo secured a 7-year contract, the first of its nature in the UK, to provide a 700 strong firefighter reserve capability to LFEPA. They and the LFEPA put about the myth that it was for emergencies like a pandemic illness or flooding, but its real purpose was as a strikebreaking force, designed to ensure that London firefighters were always negotiating at a disadvantage.

"The London Fire Brigade started the process of sacking all its firefighters, and intends to have their work done in a half-hearted and inadequate way, by a company whose top people have already grown rich at Londoners' expense, just in order to avoid sitting down and negotiating shift patterns with the Fire Brigades Union. Nothing could be more irresponsible, and nothing could be more pig-headed" said Mr Wrack.

Contact Information

  • Francis Beckett
    020 8349 9194 or 07813 001372