basingstoke gazette 3rd feb 2003
HAMPSHIRE firefighters are to be balloted on whether to strike in
protest at the sacking of Basingstoke fireman Simon Green.
Fire Brigades Union (FBU) general secretary Andy Gilchrist told
Hampshire FBU members on Thursday that all eyes were on Hampshire, as
eight out of 10 Hampshire branches voted for the ballot at an
extraordinary union meeting.
Their resolution read: "Unless the notice of dismissal under capability
procedure issued to a member in Hampshire is rescinded immediately,
then the membership in Hampshire will be balloted for industrial
The ballot is expected to be held in the next few weeks, but no firm
date has been set.
The vote came just days before firefighters across the country went on
strike again over pay.
Mr Green, who was sacked in December, has had a troubled relationship
with his fire service employer since he was suspended from duty in
April 1999 after he tried to organise a union meeting.
He was reinstated 19 months later, before an employment tribunal found
in his favour, and on Thursday, union members told The Gazette a
remedies panel awarded him £17,500 in costs from Hampshire fire
and rescue service.
But Mr Green has not worked since October 2000 because of ill-health.
Mr Gilchrist told Hampshire officials at Thursday's meeting that they
should not think they are alone in their protest over Mr Green's
He said FBU members, branches, brigades and regions across the UK have
already pledged their support and the FBU National Executive Council has
offered their unconditional support.
Basingstoke FBU representative Lud Ramsey said: "Mr Gilchrist said he
was very concerned about what's happening, and that all the chief
officers are looking to see what's going to happen in Hampshire."
The FBU say that Mr Green was sacked on grounds of capability, and that
this is not a recognised or agreed method for dismissal from the UK
But Hampshire fire service spokesman Mike Gates said he was not sacked
on capability grounds.
"It's all to do with the policy of absence management, which has been
agreed with the unions for years," he said. "Other people have been
dismissed for the same reason before."
National, regional and Hampshire FBU officials were due to meet
Basingstoke firefighters on their picket line this morning to support
the new ballot.
Firefighters save the day for theatre lover
by Charis Mastris
Firefighters Lud Ramsey (left) and Simon Foster (right) have come to
the rescue of Erika Heywood and her partner Martin Schroder
STRIKING firefighters have come to the rescue of a wheelchair-bound
theatre lover who had been refused entry to Basingstoke's Haymarket
theatre because of the fire strike.
Erika Heywood, who suffers from debilitating motor neurone disease, was
turned away from the theatre during the November fire strike because
management were worried that without fire cover it would be too
difficult to get wheelchair users out quickly in case of an emergency.
The 47-year-old theatre fan and her partner Martin Schroder booked
tickets a month in advance for another Haymarket production tomorrow -
and then watched in dismay as firefighters announced on television
that they would be striking again that day.
Martin, 29, who lives with Erika in Kenilworth Road, Winklebury,
Basingstoke, said: "We were very upset that the two times there were
plays we wanted to see in the last few months, we couldn't go because
the firefighters were on strike.
"The manager of the Haymarket was very nice and helpful, but he said
there was no way we could go." But when The Gazette told the
firefighters about Erika's predicament, they offered to step in and
agreed that some of them would move their picket from outside the fire
station to outside the theatre so that they can carry Erika out if
there is an emergency.
Firefighter Lud Ramsey, who will be one of the Green Watch firefighters
accompanying Erika, said: "As soon as we heard that a disabled person
needed our help, we were quick to respond.
"We were very happy to be able to do this. It is the type of thing we
would do whether or not we are on duty."
Haymarket manager Tim Wills said he would be delighted to review his
risk assessment in light of the firefighters' offer. He added that two
other wheelchair users had wanted to see the play so the firefighters
have agreed to be on standby for them as well.
A beaming Erika told The Gazette: "I was really pleased that they have
said they will come and help me. The theatre is one of the few
pleasures I have left."
ANGRY firefighters are seeking to ballot colleagues
across Hampshire about strike action after a leading Basingstoke union
activist was sacked just five days before Christmas.
At an emergency branch committee meeting held on
Tuesday, union representatives from across the county agreed to consult
their colleagues about holding a strike ballot over the dismissal of
Simon Green (pictured left), who has been off work with depression for
just over two years.
Fire Brigades Union general secretary Andy Gilchrist -
who has been at the centre of the national fire pay dispute - is
planning to come to Hampshire this month to talk to firefighters about
Mr Green's sacking, and leading union members will vote whether or not
to ballot for a strike on January 31.
The FBU has also lodged an appeal against the
controversial sacking with Hampshire's chief fire officer Malcolm
Eastwood and has vowed to take the matter to Hampshire's fire authority
if this appeal fails.
Mr Green has had a troubled relationship with his fire
service employer since he was suspended from duty in April 1999 after he
tried to organise a union meeting.
He was reinstated 19 months later, before an employment
tribunal found in his favour. But he has not worked since October 2000
because of ill-health.
The father-of-two said he had no idea he was going to be
sacked when he was called to a meeting with Hampshire fire service's
deputy chief fire officer John Bonney in Winchester on December 20 last
Mr Green, who lives in Andover, but had been based in
Basingstoke, told The Gazette: "I thought we were going to discuss my
future, that they thought they'd made a mistake and were going to try to
start a reconciliation process. Then they sacked me. It was a massive
shock - I have been a firefighter for 22 years."
Fire service spokesman Mike Gates confirmed that a
firefighter was dismissed in December, "for excessive levels of
absenteeism, after continuous levels of sick leave" - but he would not
confirm that it was Mr Green. Referring to the way the sacking was
carried out, he said: "We have more than one procedure.
"This is not a disciplinary matter, so it's dealt with
by our sickness and absence management procedure as agreed with the
unions, and that depends on the circumstances relating to any particular
But Peter Miller, acting executive council member for
the FBU's southern region who also attended the meeting, disputed the
reasons for Mr Green's dismissal.
Mr Miller said: "Mr Green was sick because of stress and
anxiety - he went to his GP, and then went off sick.
"How is it that they have sacked him when there is
medical evidence to suggest that he should be given ill-health
retirement, while an officer involved in suspending him in was given
"I believe he has been sacked for being a trade union
official, and for carrying out trade union duties."
Mr Green is due to hear the result of a remedies
hearing, which will decide on compensation from the fire service as a
result of the tribunal case, in the next two weeks.
He said: "The report from the hearing will lay down the
facts of what happened, and about my illness as they are considered
"Why couldn't the fire service have waited two weeks to
read that report before making any decision on my future?"
a forum article written by "siggy" for meridian TV web site:
It never ceases to amaze me that working class people who are low paid
moan about other workers fighting for a living wage. If you are low paid
that is YOUR fault for accepting it. The people who should be the target
of their gripes are the ones paying the pittance. They get fat on the
money YOU earn for them. Nobody has ever earned a decent wage by staying
in work and talking because at the end of the day while you are still
working and talking they are still making money out of you and at the
same time putting the wheels in motion to deprive you of any fair
settlement. If 40% is so unreasonable how come MP's voted it for
themselves? Was it because that was a just and fair amount for the level
of work and responsibility? Who would you want if your house was on fire
with your family inside or in the mangled wreckage of a car? John
Prescott? Tony Blair? Ian Duncan Smith?
When have you EVER heard Managing Directors or Chairmen of large
business's criticize another Fat Cat for doubling his salary and giving
himself a £250,000 bonus. I haven't heard one yet. They don't say
I think it's all wrong him getting £1.5 million and I have to
struggle along on £750,000. Just look at the fat cats at Air
Traffic Control at Swanwick who have just given themselves hundreds of
thousands of pounds in bonus payments - for what? Just ask WHY?
How come the government can find billions of pounds to wage war on the
innocent peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan (neither of which has attacked
or threatened us) but not to pay firemen. Who would you want if your
house was on fire with your family inside or in the mangled wreckage of
a car? A nuclear submarine perhaps or the Durham Light Infantry maybe?
Just ask WHY?
It is because the rich who have seen their hills of money turn into
mountains as the tax burden has been taken off their shoulders (because
they can't afford it) and placed on the shoulders of the working people
who can afford it as they are awash with money due to all these well
paid jobs we have.
There used to be a lot more money in the Exchequer than there is now
due to all the “ inefficient” national companies we used to own, such as
all the Gas Boards, Electric Boards, Water Boards, British Telecom,
British Airways to name a few, who poured billions of pounds in profits
into the government coffers. The only trouble was it was being spent on
health, education and welfare of the for the good of a majority of the
British public and not the minority of rich people who don’t use public
services like the rest of us. The only way they could divert all this
cash into their own pockets was by buying them at knock down prices on
the pretext they were “inefficient” which is what they did.
The firemen are fighting for ALL of us to not have the indignity of
having to go cap in hand to bosses to try and extract a living wage. To
besmirch them is an insult to us all.
Bragg backs strike in a very vocal manner
by Paul Hobson
Singer/songwriter Billy Bragg came out in support of the firefighters'
strike at his concert at The Anvil
SUPPORT for Basingstoke's firefighters was boosted by singer/songwriter
Billy Bragg who joined their picket line ahead of playing a gig in the
Bragg, 45, a prominent socialist who came into the public eye following
his support of the miners' strikes in 1984/1985, spent some time
chatting with local firemen outside their station in South Ham last
He again showed his support during his concert with his band, The
Blokes, that evening at The Anvil.
Prior to playing his song Power To The Union, he told the local
audience: "The firefighters deserve our support for bringing the issue
of low public service pay to the public.
"They have left us with a choice - do we want an Americanised society
where everything is for sale, or do we want a welfare state where
education and health services are free for all?
"The firemen are at the sharp end of society. Whenever they enter a
burning building, they are risking their lives, yet they are
"They deserve to have a decent income. They also deserve our support,
so please give generously and help them enjoy some sort of Christmas."
Several firefighters were in attendance at the concert, and cheered
loudly after this backing.
Firefighters also manned a union stall at the Anvil, selling T-shirts,
handing out leaflets and showing videos of the FBU campaign, both
contemporary and historical.
Local fireman Simon Green said: "Billy and The Blokes offered some
brilliant things, and thanks go out to his management team for their
energy and support."
by Anita Smith
Firefighter Paul Burton holds a shattered plant pot at his ransacked
THE home of a Basingstoke fireman has been ransacked by vandals.
Full-time Basingstoke firefighter Paul Burton, who is also a retained
firefighter in Grayshott, where he lives, believes the incident was
motivated by the recent eight-day strike.
"My house was broken into but nothing was stolen - it was just
ransacked," he said. "It was obviously just deliberate vandalism. I
can't say it was definitely to do with the strike, but it seems a bit
odd that they broke in and just smashed everything up."
Paul was called by a neighbour on Sunday at 6.55pm, telling him his
maisonette first floor flat had been broken into.
On his return, he found the burglars had smashed the kitchen window to
gain entry into the property.
Paul's microwave had been hurled across the kitchen and chairs swung
In the living room, the window was damaged and the intruders had
attempted to kick the 32in television off its stand.
Paul, who was about to move out of his flat, is now staying at his
girlfriend's home for his own safety until he can move into his new
Anyone with any information about the incident should call
Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
ARMY SET TO STRIKE
In the face of industrial action by members of the armed forces, the
New Labour government has announced that the Fire Service will, as an
interim measure, carry out military operations in Iraq.
The army, who have demanded a 40% pay adjustment on the basis that
their job has become rather more technical since 1945, will begin strike
action next Thursday unless a compromise pay deal can be agreed in the
A Government spokesman said they while it was possible that some
modernisation had been carried out in the Army since 1945 there was no
proof that any additional skills were needed in the Falkland, Gulf or
The Spokesman said that some, like the Falklands were not even ‘wars’
but conflicts. This he said had nothing to do at all with the fact that
war pensions are not payable to widows if someone dies and it is only a
conflict not a declared war!!
It is understood that the army will spend their time standing around
bonfires made from obsolete stocks of SA80 rifles which don’t work; and
parts of Apache helicopters and Nimrods aeroplanes to save the
£115,000,000 storage and repair costs.
Crack Fire Service personnel, highly trained in nothing at all
according to New Labour, are understood to be on standby to take up
front line operations.
They will undergo a two day course to enable them to function in the
desert and win a war. The two day course starts at 09:00 on Saturday
with trajectory lessons and continues with how to change a track on a
tank and how to get sand particles out of camels hoofs.
Using their "red goddess" vehicles instead of tanks, they will learn
how to race towards Iraqi lines and attempt to annoy the enemy into
surrendering by making a lot of noise and spreading a foam blanket to
confuse the enemy into thinking they are not in a desert but surrounded
When it was pointed out to Mr Blair that the bright red fire engines
might make an easy target for enemy fire, Mr Blair said, "Never mind,
we've got too many firemen er women er firefighters as it is... er, is
that camera running?"
Asked for his comment, Britain's partner in the coalition in the war
against Iraq, US President George W. Bush, said "Ooh, can I have a go on
the siren and wear the yellow hat?"
John Prescott was asked to comment on the latest developments but as it
was only 08:49 when the story broke we will have to get a response later
Ian Duncan Smith said at a New Conservative-Labour coffee morning that
he thought all strikes should be banned. The reporter from the Daily
Biased asked if that included air strikes and Mr Duncan Smith said he
did not say ‘all’ strikes simply most of them some of the time maybe but
only if a strike did not affect share prices.
In the latest development the HSE have indicated that they would broker
a deal to ensure that if an Firefighter is shot they will be recorded as
a ‘major injury details to follow’ to ensure the figures showing
firefighting is a completely safe occupation remain uncontested.
As we went to press it was confirmed that the 55,000 full and part time
firefighters will easily manage the role of 255,500 soldiers. It is
reported that to manage this the firefighters will not actually fire any
weapon or actually do any fighting. They will set up a loudspeaker
system around the border of Europe and shout ‘bang bang you’re dead’
very loudly and in an aggressive manner to scare the enemy off.
If it wasn’t so serious a subject it would be funny.
Interview with Billy Bragg.
At Swan Theatre , High Wycombe
28th November 2002
(nb. billy bragg and the blokes invited the FBU to have a stall selling
t-shirts, caps and handing out leaflets during their shows at
basingstoke, high wycombe and london. In addition there was a video
installation featuring fair pay campaign footage - the work of alan
miles - FBU video film maker, raya crew and FBU members too numerous to
we are living in interesting times what do you think is going on with
the fire fighters fair pay dispute?
as far as I’m concerned the fire fighters represent all public service
workers. the fact that they are on strike at the moment gives us a
really important opportunity to discuss pay differentials in the public
sector. It’s an important issue because, unless we have this fight,
unless we have this discussion, we’re going to very soon find that we
live in a society based purely on the american model of capitalism.
where everything is up for sale, the bottom line is always profit and
I think most people in this country would prefer to remain true to the
founding principles of the welfare state, which we’ve all grown up with
and which we’ve all benefited from. I think that’s what the sub-text of
this strike is all about. By putting the fire fighters pay under the
microscope people can then see clearly how the public sector are
with just 45,000 members do you think the fire brigades union can win
it’s true that the FBU is a small union by comparison to others. But
what’s important is that you’re absolutely solid. You’re out. There’s a
tiny few scabbing, a tiny minority crossing picket lines. There’s none
of the terrible scabbing that we saw during the miners strike for
example. The fact that you are so solid, it’s all legal and above board,
there’s no argument about if you should have gone out or not. And
you’re all right behind the leadership.
I think you have every chance of coming away with a result.
why is it important for you to “politicise” your music and culture?
my experience as a performer is rooted in the industrial struggles of
the nineteen eighties, particularly the miners strike. And for a large
segment of my audience that struggle is still very, very important. So
we can sing a song like “there is power in a union” every night and the
audience will cheer it to the rafters, but political music is nothing
So when the FBU are out on strike, or more importantly when there’s
members of the FBU actually present at the gig, physically in the room
with us, it really does supercharge the event. The audience realise they
have an opportunity to express their solidarity with the FBU and the
strikers, and it lifts them up. We’ve had some great nights already
where fire fighters have been at the gigs.
Yeah, we do help as an audience by providing support to the fire
fighters when they come to our shows and we hope they go away uplifted.
But they are also inspiring us, they are also reminding us of why we got
involved in the struggle in the first place. Reminding me of why I first
felt inspired to write songs like “power in a union”.
Political parties change, we know that, we’ve experienced that at our
cost. But I find that when workers are organised, whether if it’s here
in the uk, the USA, australia… anywhere around the world, people
are fighting for the same things. Their jobs, their families and
their community’s…. grass roots issues. I find myself being true to that
rather than anything else.
My slogan is “neither new labour, nor old labour, but organised labour”
nb. near verbatim borrowed from an interview filmed by RAYAVISION
a report back on london region Fire Brigades Union benefit event acton
friday night was like being transported back to the
militant stylee. The visuals went down really well with the audience.
made a complimentary comment about them at the end of his act.
a 1000 people rocked the town hall when joe strummer was joined on
stage by mick
jones and played 'london's burning'.............
many people payed us positive comments about our imagery..............
a good night!
Next week its Swansea for the Video activist festival organised by
and Beyond TV, where our video 'war' finishes the afternoon session.
busy times ahead
Date Published: Monday 11 November 2002
Talks fuelling the fire for strike action
FIREFIGHTERS are getting more annoyed and the number of potential
strikers around Basingstoke is growing as Wednesday's deadline for
industrial action draws nearer, a union representative has said.
Fire Brigades Union leader Andy Gilchrist has twice postponed strike
action so far while he talks to the service employers, but no compromise
has been reached.
Unless he is happy with a pay offer expected tomorrow, he has pledged
that firefighters will strike for 48 hours from 6pm on Wednesday.
Basingstoke union member Simon Green told The Gazette the stalling,
accompanied by a lack of agreement with employers and concerns about
hostility from the national media, has strengthened the pro-strike
He said: "It's going to be an angry dispute, and it's going to be a
long-term thing. We're getting ready for battle." Union members have
planned a meeting at Basingstoke station for 5pm on Wednesday to bring
the branch together to answer any queries at the last minute.
"The branch meeting will walk out on the pavement and then the oncoming
watch will walk out at one minute past six," said Firefighter Green.
Basingstoke's FBU spokes-man Lud Ramsey explained that there has to be
action on Wednesday if the union does not accept the employers' offer.
The FBU has asked for a 40 per cent pay rise, and have rejected a four
per cent offer from their employers. "It's the 28-day rule," he said.
"If we don't go out on Wednes-day, we will have to re-ballot our
He added: "The employers will have to come up with something over 20
per cent for us to even think about looking at it.
"We are ready now. We have had our ups and downs, but now we feel the
time's come. The feeling in Basingstoke is that everyone is raring to
Dedicated To Bob Miller's Family With Respect
When God Made Firefighters
When God was creating firefighters, he was into the sixth day of
overtime when an angel appeared and said, "You're doing a lot of extra
work on this one."
And the Lord said, "Have you read the specs on this order?
A firefighter has to wake up to a fire alarm
Go into burning buildings to rescue people and enter areas the normal
person wouldn't go
It has to be willing to leave its family and put it's life on the line
Work to exhaustion and beyond and be ready for the next call
It has to have a strong commitment to a personal calling that places
their lives in jeopardy every day
It has to be in top physical and mental condition at all times
Function on black coffee and half-eaten meals
Have a heart big enough to love members of the brotherhood world wide
And have a unity of purpose.
The angel shook its head slowly and said, "A heart that big... no way."
"It's not the heart that is causing me problems," said the Lord, "it's
the extra hands and eyes a firefighter has to have."
"That has to be on the standard model?" asked the angel.
The Lord nodded.
"One pair of eyes that sees the whole situation"
"Another pair that sees what is ahead to be dealt with"
"A third pair to watch out for his brothers"
"And another pair here in front that can look reassuringly at an
injured victim and say, 'You'll be alright' even when it knows it isn't
"Lord," said the angel, touching his sleeve, "rest and work on this
"I can't said the Lord. "I already have a model that can -"
"Carry a 190 pound victim out of a burning building"
"Has dedicated its life to helping people"
"And is willing to come to the aid of those threatened by the deadly
force of fire."
The angel circled the model of the firefighter very slowly, "Can it
think?" the angel asked.
"You bet," said the Lord.
"It can tell you the elements of a hundred fires, the victims and
rescues, and the importance of fire safety.... and still keep its sense
"This firefighter also has phenomenal personal control. It can deal
with fire scenes painted in hell, coax a trapped person or animal out of
a burning building, and still go home and love its family."
"Being a firefighter is one of bravery, loyalty and devotion to public
service. It is willing to put its life on the line every day to protect
our homes and our loved ones from the devastating effects of fire, and
sometimes, the honorable job of saving lives requires many firefighters
to pay the ultimate price for their valour in the line of duty."
Finally, the angel ran a finger across the cheek of the firefighter.
"There's a leak," the angel pronounced. "I told you that you were trying
to put too much in this model."
"Thats not a leak," the Lord said, "it's a tear."
"What's the tear for?" asked the angel.
"It's for bottled-up emotions, for fallen comrades, for the victims and
for total commitment to the communities they serve."
"You're a genius," said the angel.
The Lord looked somber. "I didn't put it there," he said.
Just thought this said it all.
Lff Colin Wells (Thermal) - Northants Fire & Rescue Service
BASINGSTOKE GAZETTE ARTICLE // WRITEN BY CHARIS
FORTY firefighters walked out of Basingstoke fire station on Wednesday
- sombre but determined to make their point during the first fire strike
for 25 years.
Only two Blue Watch firefighters refused to take industrial action in
the first strike shift - possibly enough to run a special equipment
unit, but with many of the town's retained firefighters also supporting
the whole-time union members, there was not enough back-up and the West
Ham station shut down just after 6pm.
All the other watches at Basingstoke were similarly pro-strike, so it
was down to the Royal Navy-manned Green Goddesses and breathing
apparatus truck parked across the town at the police station to provide
cover until the first 48-hour strike finishes tonight at 6pm.
Thankfully, Basingstoke was quiet during the first 14-hour shift, but
the Hampshire and Isle of Wight control centre, run jointly by Royal
Navy and senior fire officers, received 21 fire-related calls -
including four malicious hoaxes in the first hour.
A Navy spokesman said: "This is very irresponsible. The Green Goddesses
have got enough of a job without having to respond to calls that aren't
Only eight Green Goddesses and three retained teams were deployed in
the two counties, and a fire spokeswoman said 14 calls were automatic
fire alarms triggered off by the bad weather.
Sixteen firefighters stayed on the picket line in Basingstoke
throughout the night, despite the wind and rain.
They maintained that taking strike action was the last thing they
wanted, and that they have been forced into this action by an
unfavourable Bain report, offering an 11 per cent pay rise instead of
the 40 per cent they have been asking for.
Blue Watch Firefighter Chris Walsh said: "I am Basingstoke
born-and-bred, and I have been a firefighter for 15 years. I never
thought I would ever vote in favour of going out on industrial action,
but I have had enough. It's taken a long time to come to this."
Firefighter Jim Hutchen said the pickets received several messages of
support, gifts of food and £60 from friendly members of the
Interview with Simon Foster
Fire Brigades Union Member, Basingstoke Branch, Southern Region.
18th November 2002
q. How long have you been a fire-fighter on White Watch?
About three years now. Served all my time at Basingstoke and enjoying
the job, really enjoying it.
q. Before you joined, or shortly after, did you know much about the
fire brigades union?
We were advised to join the union during our initial recruit training
and most did. I didn’t really know a lot about the union until I arrived
at my fire station. There was a lot going on at the time to do with the
union. A lot of it was quite bad press, in Basingstoke especially, the
only thing I knew, was that the union was being beaten down by the
people in charge, up in the hierarchy, and the Hampshire union didn’t
seem very strong compared to other places in the country. That was what
I was being told.
q. Now that you’ve been in our job for a while have you got an opinion
on your conditions of service, on the general quality of fire cover,
have you got a realistic impression of the fire brigade now?
Well yeah, I really enjoy my job. Unfortunately, I don’t get paid the
sort of wages I deserve and a lot of people agree with me. It’s the sort
of job where you need to be active and all the rest of it and it can be
hard and obviously it’s dangerous. And so the pay has to reflect that.
But we don’t get paid enough and we haven’t for a long time. Now the
union has really grown in strength, you can see it on the watch. At
Basingstoke Fire station on the whole. Everyone’s talking about the
union all the time, everyone’s getting active and it’s just improved
more than one hundred per cent. Everyone’s working with each other, the
guys at Basingstoke especially, they’ve never been so united, they’ve
never been so strong as a unit. It’s impressed me how it’s all come
together in the last six months. It’s really nice.
q. How do you see your future? How do you feel the fire service is
going to develop in the next twenty five years?
I’d like to think it’s going to go well. And I’d like to think that
we’re going to get a decent wage to live on. However, I’m a bit
apprehensive at the way the government is talking now, trying to make
all these changes, when you read the Bain report it’s not the way that
fire fighters and the fire brigades union want this service modernised.
It’s not right.
q. Are you aware of the structure of Region 13? Do you think the
dispute is being managed well and that you are getting the right
I think the campaign in this region is being run well, we all know our
local officials Lud Ramsey and Paul Norton who pass on the information.
The regional web site is really helpful and good. We usually have
someone log on each tour and show us the information. Dean Mills, the
Regional Secretary, often comes down to visit which is good. However, he
is the only guy that has been coming around to see us. It might be
helpful if more people came and helped us to become educated on how the
other aspects of the union are organised. Although with everything
that’s been going on for this past couple of months, everything’s
happened so quickly, I suppose it’s not surprising that not many
people have the time to come around. Hopefully the officials will keep
it up and we’ll keep being well informed.
q. If you had to write down three things that have inspired you during
this fair pay campaign what would they be?
The main thing is you’ve got to stand up for what you believe in. There
are a lot of fire fighters who believe they are worth more than the
pittance they are being paid at the moment. And, standing up as a union,
we have made a difference and will continue to make a difference.
The other thing I’d say is don’t believe everything you read in the
press, don’t believe everything you see on the telly, and don’t believe
everything that comes out of your countries leaders mouth. Because it’s
not all-true and in fact most of it is lies.
And the last thing I’d say is if you all stand together to be counted
then they will have to count you. You can’t just ignore thousands and
thousands of people who all believe in the same thing.
“Together we are stronger”… as they say…. and that’s definitely true.
nb. near verbatim borrowed from an interview filmed by RAYAVISION
union southern region // whitchurch (FBU hampshire) campaign line
an historic day in hampshire when the first retained station campaign
fbu members in whitchurch had been supporting the fair pay dispute
since the beginning. they have been hanging around the picket lines in
basingstoke and andover, talking, communicating and growing in
confidence by the day. they decided they'd had enough at at 2.30
wednesday 27 november 2002.
they set about getting organised... a shelter, hand painted signs and
banners, flags, brazier, log book, picket arm bands, leaflets, tea,
chairs, stickers, information from region. they asked us for support.
at 2.20 pm, we (delegates from basingstoke and andover fourteen in
total, including retained and wholetime) met in the station car park and
created a picket in about ten minutes flat. it was inspiring to see the
flags hanging, the creative energy going into the construction (talk
about team work - ed) and the toots of the horns beginning. everywhere
we go there is massive public support. the four whitchurch members
thanked us for our help. most of us had left the scene by 3.30 leaving
the whitchurch picket "alone". it's going to be hard work staffing a
line with four people - basingstoke and andover committed their support,
keeping them stocked in leaflets, wood, you name it and extra people
just get on the phone.
we filmed the whole thing on video, talked to the daily mirror on a
mobile, did an interview with radio solent, dick (nuj reporter from the
andover advertiser) turned up... the whitchurch crews had a high
pressure media experieance and coped extremely well.
far from being split our union is united and growing in confidence and
experience by the hour.
on the question of fire service modernisation from machv:
> Do you think that the Fire Service could do with
modernisation in any
> form? Is this what part of the talks are about - how to
> fire service without it affecting the service?
answer from tim i-resign:
This one is easy: we need to create a race of completely autonomous
fire-fighting mecharobots, each one 20-storeys-tall and able to climb
the shoulders of its fellows to fight any fires that might break out
in the new breed of mile-high fullerene towers we should all be living
Flames would be extinguised with sprays of decombusting nanomachines
whole show would be powered by fusion, fuel cells and tiny fans that
the prevailing wind.
That's the sort of modernisation I'd be pushing for, not these
short-sighted, shallow-pocketed, penny-pinching Blairisms. I also have
idea for replacing the ambulance service with a race of paramedic
mecharobots that would look like a cross between a stand-up fridge
and a Saint Bernardised panda bear - patients would be licked back to
by eager polymer tongues and then operated upon once the door on the
fridgelike unit had closed. But unlike a true fridge, the light inside
actually come on when the door is closed, and hymns would play.
some meaningful things you could do to help the fire
fighters win this dispute.
> check that your workplace has proper health and saftey
arrangements in place for the duration of the fire fighters strike
> ensure your home is safer by servicing your smoke detector and
rehearse an escape plan in the event of a fire
> add your name to the e-petition http://www.30kfirepay2.co.uk/
> tell your consituancy MP you demand fair pay for fire fighters http://www.faxyourmp.com
or write to his/her constituancy office
> bookmark http://www.fbusouthern.co.uk/
for reliable and up-to-date information about this dispute
> send a message of support to your local fire station branch
> knock on your fire station door to get posters, stickers, t-shirts
and up-to-date info
> display posters and stickers of support at your workplace / home
> download a screensaver and display it in your workplace http://www.fbu.org.uk/
> invite a fire fighter to speak to your trade union branch meeting
> honk your horn when driving past a picket
> make a financial collection and donate it to your local FBU picket
> do not trust the propoganda put out by the government and media
> strike dates:
0900 hours Tuesday 29th October to 0900 hours Thursday 31st October (48
0900 hours Saturday 2nd November to 0900 hours Monday 4th November (48
0900 hours Wednesday 6th November to 0900 hours Thursday 14th November
0900 hours Friday 22nd November to 0900 hours Saturday 30th November (8
0900 hours Wednesday 4th December to 0900 hours Thursday 12th December
0900 hours Monday 16th December to 0900 hours Tuesday 24th December (8
> pass this list onto your family and friends
> UNITY IS STRENGTH ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !