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FBU pickets at Gipton Fire Station

FBU pickets at Gipton Fire Station

Over 30 joined the picket lines in Gipton, Leeds as firefighters walked out to be joined by fellow FBU members who were off duty.

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

Pickets there were incensed over the governments attempts to increase their retirement age. But, just like many other workers in dispute, this is not the only attack they are facing.

The Labour-led local fire authority has voted through successive cuts packages which include closing a whole number of stations including Gipton and replacing several by stations in mid points between them. But as pickets explained, this will make the new station further away from the highest risk areas where there have been several fires this year that they have only just got to in time.

The last few years has also seen a drip-drip series of cuts, removing roles such as cooks and clerks and throwing that work onto firefighters who then have less time to drill and go out and fight fires.

Pickets here were in a hardened mood and were angry that action had been called off last week, as one picket put it ‘it shows weakness and sends the wrong message’. But with todays strike and mondays coming up they are determined to take whatever action is necessary to force the government and employers back.

(see report of previous strike – https://leedssocialistparty.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/firefighters-protest-against-increase-in-retirement-age-cuts/)