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Firemen demand action to end dispute

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by Kay Mitchell

Firefighters will go ahead with industrial action over the crucial bonfire night weekend after talks collapsed between the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and the London Fire Authority yesterday.

The strike, which will take place from 10am on November 5 to 9am on November 7, incorporates Bonfire Night – the fire service’s busiest period.

Members embarked on an eight-hour strike last Saturday and another is planned for next Monday, November 1.

The strike action is being caused by the ogvernment trying to force through a change in shift patterns, which firefighters claim will leave them with less family time, while additionally leaving London with less night cover.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been edited and the title changed – Bob Neill, the Fire Minister, is obviously keen to portray fire fighters are already very well paid and claiming they are asking for an extra £10k per year.

Unfortunately, Finance Markets picked up a propaganda release from the office and wrote a story about it in keeping with the current topic.

However, it’s not our place to parrot government propaganda, and definitely not the job of Brite Media to slam our brave emergency services.

Best of luck with the action, and keep up the good work.

Brian, FM Editor.

Here’s the section that was edited out:

It has been revealed that firemen have demanded an extra £10,000 pay rise in exchange for switching to new shift patterns.

Commenting, Bob Neill, the Fire Minister, said: “Lots and lots of people in the public sector are exercising pay restraint and it’s only right the FBU play their part too.

“The FBU have set out a shopping list of demands that are totally out of touch with the rest of the public sector and not appropriate in the tough economic climate we are in.”

Mr Neill said he feels the safety of members of the public in London is “being put at risk” as a result of the demands.

A London-based qualified fireman earns around £33,220 per annum and it is deemed to be one of the best in the public sector – partly due to its ability to combine it with another part-time job.

They currently work two nine-hour day shifts and then a 15-hour night shift, before taking four days off.

It is understood that the Fire Brigade wants to lift the duration of the day shift to 11 hours, while reducing the night shift to 13 hours.

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Story link: Firemen demand action to end dispute

News posted: October 28, 2010

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  1. I think the firefighters will not get allot of sympothy this time around. I saw some people that worked for LFB letting the water out of the back of one of the fire engines operated by private fire fighters last week not to far from there picket line! I for one would rather have someone turn up that has had a little training than no one atall! Striking on bonfire night? There is no consideration for our (the publics) safety. And that is the reason most of them joined up, to help people. They do a difficult job and deserve rewarding for it, but the country is in trouble and everyone must help in anyway they can.

    Comment by Nick — October 28, 2010 @ 10:47 am

  2. i think it’s selfish of the LFB, we face an economic crisis where everyone is making sacrifices today for a better tommorow and the fire brigade are striking? they do a fantastic and worthwile job, i feel very safe knowing if there is an emergency i’m in safe hands but this i cannot sympathise with. it is very irresponsible, on bonfire night, they know it’s their busiest night. everyone knows it’s their busiest night. so why are they choosing to put lives in danger over a pay cut which everyone in the public sector is undergoing?

    Comment by Joe — October 28, 2010 @ 4:52 pm

  3. This story is an out and out smear. The unions are not asking for a £10K pay rise. They are asking not be sacked en masse unless they sign up to new and much worse shift patterns that are paving the way for cuts and job losses. Why are you repeating this absolute lie? If management are not in the wrong, then why are they relying on the spread of malicious lies about fire fighters in order to get the public on side? More fool anyone who does not support our fire fighters who are struggling for OUR safety and more fool anyone who relies on the absolute barrage of rubbish printed in the media to inform them of the ins and outs of this dispute.

    Comment by Mary Allen — October 29, 2010 @ 3:22 pm

  4. So, Who supplied the reporter with these blatent lies to turn public support away?… We have proof that the brigade passed a dossier to media to slur our name. Same old story.
    If only you ill informed people would wonder why you side with an odious man like Coleman and his cronies…do we believe politicians now then?
    And not people that would save your lives without a moments hesitation?
    What a strange world.
    @joe how strange someone must have told you it is over a pay cut!!!
    You clearly cannot handle a firework on the 5th!!!!
    Unless you know the facts.. Pointless commenting

    Comment by Lewis — October 29, 2010 @ 3:33 pm

  5. What a load of crap!! Until you walk in a firefighters boots, how can you possibly comment?? I suggest you get your facts correct before commenting. Thank you!

    Comment by Kaz Green — October 29, 2010 @ 3:37 pm

  6. People, the firefighters are not striking over wages. They are not requesting that they be increased. There is no threat of them suffering a pay cut either.
    What they are striking over is the fact that they have been issued with a 188 notice, this means they either sign a new contract or they are sacked.
    The LFB want to bring in new shift times (there is no increase in hours or amount of days they must work). They want these new shifts so that they can close fire stations at night and take fire engines of the run.
    They are striking for EVERY Londoners future safety!

    Comment by Gem8810 — October 29, 2010 @ 3:42 pm

  7. It’s not true it’s a smear campaign by the employers to make the firefighters look bad because the employers are losing, no one is asking for any more money and the firefighters are even on a 3 yr pay freeze

    Comment by Phil — October 29, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

  8. Just to clarify a few points for those who are not in possession of all the facts:
    The strike is due to the process that has been started to dismiss all 5500 firefighters in London if they do not agree to detrimental changes in their working hours which would lead to a lot less time with their families, and, more importantly for the London council tax payers, a cut in night time fire cover.
    It has nothing to do with money – we are on a 3 year pay freeze
    It has nothing to do with second jobs – the 12 hour shifts the Brigade want to impose would allow more time during the day between shifts for second jobs, not less.
    Just because some people are worse off than firefighters, does not mean that we should not fight for our rights or for the publics service.
    The current shift systems works, it’s what all firefighters in London signed up for and as a Brigade, we have always come out on top of audits for the public sector.
    i earn a monthly take home wage as a fully qualified London Firefighter of £1800. I am a qualified to drive the Fire Engine & also qualified in the Fire Rescue Unit for which I recieve & ask for no extra pay. I do recieve overtime which is mainly from working on my days off because the Brigade have asked me to because they dont have enough staff!!!!!!
    Do not believe the drivel that is coming from the media.
    Fire Stations are manned 24/7 365 days a year so why does the Brigade think that adding a further 3 hours onto my working day is going to produce more productivity. Their argument to change an already tried & tested successful shift system doesnt add up.

    Comment by Dave — October 29, 2010 @ 3:52 pm

  9. It’s not true it’s a smear campaign by the employers to make the firefighters look bad because the employers are losing, no one is asking for any more money and the firefighters are even on a 3 yr pay freeze

    Comment by Phil — October 29, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

  10. Please read all you can about this dispute before you pass judgement and make comments. I am not a firefighter but have read as much as I can from all sources and I have spoken to a lot of people, I judge that FF have got a just cause. The above is not true.They have not put in for a payrise of any amounts.Their employers expect them to sign a new contract, changing everything in it or get the sack they are willing to enter into talks if the threats are lifted which the employers are not prepared to do. Everyone is moaning about bonfire night, if this goes on there will be veryfew firefighters any night from mid Nov on because they are all going to be sacked. All 5,500 of them. Not much point in putting in for a pay rise for a job that you have no longer have.

    Comment by M Stevens — October 29, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

  11. Joe – what pay cut?????? This isn’t about paycuts. get your facts right.

    But when your employer threatens to sack you for not agreeing to detrimental changes in the terms and conditions of your legally binding contract, i hope this comes back to haunt you.

    Nick – why are you in danger? Coleman and Dobson have secretly been paying AssetCo over 1.2 million a month LONG BEFORE any strikes were announced so at hat price i’d say you were likely to be very well looked after.

    Whats the matter…. are you choosing to believe the bits that suit you??

    Comment by kelly — October 29, 2010 @ 4:04 pm

  12. This is a propaganda, the LFB and media are all one sided. If people really cared they would look in to the details and find out the truth. all of the in’s and out’s. We do not want this to be happenening and if seriously didnt have any other option we wouldnt. Brian Coleman or Ron Dobson could change it all in a second, but wont. they are to blame for this mess. We are only striking because of You, the public for your long term safety. If we are all sacked then there will be no fire brigade full stop. I agree and understand cuts but not for everyones safety/lives. If you agree with the LFB and not us the fire fighters then you agree to bulling, agree to harrassment, abuse of power and dictation. Do you not see this will open the flood gates to all employers ripping up contracts left right and center just to get there own way. making all contracts worthless! :O(

    Comment by john — October 29, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

  13. The reason we are striking is so we keep our jobs, did you know that? Did you know they are threatening to fire 5500 firefighters? Where will your fire cover be then?
    The facts of the matter is we NEVER asked for a pay rise, that is slanderous and the FBU are looking into that!
    Wouldn’t you rather fully trained firefighters rather than dangerously undertrained people?
    THIS STRIKE IS NOT OVER MONEY, it’s over protecting our careers! Tell me you wouldn’t do the same if you were in our shoes!!

    Comment by GetTheFactsStraight — October 29, 2010 @ 4:15 pm

  14. The firefighters are not demanding this. Its lies and I would suggest that you speak to your local firefighters and find out whats really going on!

    Comment by sara111 — October 29, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

  15. no one is asking for 10,000, that is a blatant lie!! dont believe what you read, do some research before you start insulting the people that if it comes to it will run into your burning house and drag you out!!

    Comment by fireman — October 29, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

  16. I would just to clarify some inaccuracies in this article. Firefighters are proffessional people and would not let water out of an operational appliance , also it is impossible to do so unless you can get into the appliance to operate the power take off. The FBU have never tabled a £10k demand in relation to this dispute. In fact this dispute is nothing to do with money, it is about the fire authority issuing all 5557 firefighters with a termination notice, so that if we do not conceed to the authorities demands in full by the 26th november we will all be dismissed.This information is easily varifiable go to this website to see for yourself- http://www.firebrigadedispute.co.uk Then perhaps a reasonable debate could be had!

    Comment by thehytheclarks — October 29, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

  17. This story is just a lie. Did you make it up yourself, Kay Murchie, or did someone feed you the lie?

    Comment by KrisS — October 29, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

  18. Sorry all – you’re right – we’ve been caught up by a propaganda piece from the Fire Minister’s office here.

    Obviously it’s pretty poor that should happen, so I’ve revised the original piece, to remove the slurs against fire fighters.

    Comment by Brian Turner — October 29, 2010 @ 4:48 pm

  19. Let them strike, there are plenty of people who will jump at the chance to replace these work-shy militant fools, they lost all public sympathy the moment they announced the bonfire night strike.

    Comment by Robtro — October 29, 2010 @ 4:48 pm

  20. my last comment has gone, just goes to show how its all controlled. a propaganda!! public do u believe in it? bullying? harrassment? abuse of power? dictation? obviously if u are against us firefighters :O(

    Comment by john — October 29, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

  21. The politicians are trying to discredit this group of people with outrageous lies and campaigns designed to destroy their public image. This is a very low down dirty trick but hardly a surpise. Since when did politicians fight their battles honestly on a level playing field? What I dont understand is how any member of the public swallows the gutter swiping filth that the government are spouting to hurt their own front line firemen??

    The media dont help by printing this sheite. But really, who do you believe; coleman or fireman??

    Comment by Peter — October 29, 2010 @ 4:54 pm

  22. Thank you Mr turner

    Comment by Kaz Green — October 29, 2010 @ 5:10 pm

  23. @ Robtro.
    The Brigade says that they have adequate cover in place to protect London. Why are you worried about a strike over the Bonfire period, dont you believe them?!

    Comment by Dave — October 29, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

  24. Would just like to say thank you to the editor for having the integrity to correct the publication so swiftly. Thank you

    Comment by John — October 29, 2010 @ 5:45 pm

  25. Well done for correcting the article and for printing such a strongly worded condemnation of the lying press release you were sent. If only the rest of the media would follow suit.

    Comment by John Baker — October 29, 2010 @ 6:05 pm

  26. Thanks for changing the story. More journalists should have the courage to do this.

    Vicki (NUJ member)

    Comment by Vicki Morris — October 29, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

  27. Robtro.
    Your right. There are Manchester bouncers supplied by Colemans mates Asset co just waiting to come and rescue you. Good luck.

    Comment by Chris — October 29, 2010 @ 6:20 pm

  28. This is just typical of the bile that the LFB senior management and Brian Coleman are paying a fortune to be pushed out there. The only people wanting and getting pay rises are Coleman and his cronies while the public sector is raped and pillaged. It’s all about the loss of night time fire cover. Anything else is a lie. Don’t say we didn’t tell you. You pay for an “excellent” fire service so why let Coleman destroy it?

    Comment by Luke — October 29, 2010 @ 6:32 pm

  29. Thankyou for your apology Brian, it’s good to see that in the face of all the propaganda and down right lies currently being peddled by the Fire Authority, that such a powerful media as yourselves can admit that you got it wrong once the truth is revealed. Unity is Strength!

    Comment by London Firefighter — October 29, 2010 @ 6:49 pm

  30. Further to my recent comment. Do you think that it might be a good idea to publicly appologise to all the firefighters that have been slurred misreprisented on this page.

    Comment by M Stevens — October 29, 2010 @ 7:24 pm

  31. I have been in the Fire Service for over 25 years and retired last year. This FBU inspired dispute will only open another can of worms which will do the firefighters more harm than good. They have the best Job in the public Sector but should accept that times have changed. All brigades are looking at reviewing fire cover to provide the best cover for the public. This dispute will be just another nail in the coffin for firefighters in another round of the FBU’s political agenda against the establishment. This is a sorry time for the service which used be be held, head high by the public.

    Comment by Ray Evans — October 31, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

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