government in the event of a major disaster/terrorist attack
occurring whilst the fire service is on strike.
'There are currently no guarantees that our members will attend or assist
any major disaster whilst we are on strike. Firefighters will
not be in fire stations and emergency fire control staff will
not be in control Rooms. Everyone, including the government,
accepts that the green goddess cover will be wholly inadequate
fire cover under normal circumstances. If the government wish
to discuss the FBU's reaction to any potential major incident
or terrorist attack whilst we are on strike, John Prescott
should phone me to discuss contingency plans.
'This dispute could still be resolved before any strike action
is taken. The FBU has said we are prepared to meet with our
national employers or government ministers to resolve this
dispute before any lives are put at risk. However, both the
government and our employers seem hell-bent on proceeding with
a farcical wide-ranging review into the whole of the fire
service. The review is not due to report until at least mid-
December; our employers have indicated they will not meet us
to discuss a resolution to the dispute until after the review
Meanwhile, 16,000 retained firefighters voted in the FBU national
strike ballot and all 16,000 will be taking part in the
national fire service strikes.
There are 18,000 retained firefighters in the United Kingdom,
16,000 of these firefighters are members of the Fire Brigades
Union. The Retained Firefighters Union (RFU) has less than
1,000 members nationally and is not recognised by any sections
of the fire service, including the employers.
Helen Hill, a retained firefighter in Avon and secretary of
the FBU's national retained section said: 'The Fire Brigades
Union represents at least 80% of all the retained firefighters
in the UK. The RFU is not recognised for negotiating purposes
anywhere in the UK and does not have a seat on the national
negotiating committee (the national joint council). They are a
complete irrelevance in this dispute.
'It's a shame retained firefighters that are members of the
RFU do not feel that they are worth the same as their
wholetime colleagues. The FBU is fighting for pay parity
between wholetime and retained personnel. None of us want to
go on strike, but we are no longer prepared to risk our lives
for£6.21 per hour, (before stoppages).
'I would urge all RFU members to join the FBU, join the
industrial action and fight for fair pay for everyone in the
UK fire service.'