Firefighters are taking part in a further two 4-hour stoppages as part of their ongoing dispute over changes to pensions. Yet this is one amongst a whole number of attacks on the fire service, including savage cuts to jobs, stations and the number of fire appliances.
Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party
On the picket line in Gipton on the Friday night, pickets were burning with anger at the news that MPs were getting a 11% pay rise at a time of pay freezes and other attacks throughout the public sector. As one picket commented to me “Have you heard how they’re justifying this? They say that it won’t cost anything due to reductions to their pensions. Well we’re having our pensions cut and I haven’t seen an 11% pay increaese for us!”
Locally a whole number of petty attacks by the fire service management locally has further angered strikers. Firefighters in Castleford have been locked out of their homes on fire service property, whilst the local Yorshire Evening Post ran a story tonight about the service being in the middle of a ten-year freeze on recruiting new full-time firefighters.
Whilst the mood amongst pickets was undoubtedly one of feeling the need to be on strike because they have to try and stand up for their jobs and pensions, increasingly firefighters are worried about the future of this vital public service which the axe-men in national and local government seem hell-bent on raising to the ground.