We reproduce below an Open Letter from West Yorkshire Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition to Labour members of the West Yorkshire Fire Authority
Dear Fire Authority member,
We are writing to you because we have serious concerns over the action of the Chief Fire Officer of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS), Simon Pilling, in relation to the ongoing national dispute between the FBU and the government over pensions.
Despite a statement made early on in the dispute that this was nothing to do with WYFRS and merely between the FBU and the government, there have been a number of measures aimed at breaking the strike – including during the current period of strike action paying some retained firefighters for 13 hours work for coming in for the two periods of 2 hour strike action in this dispute.
Are you aware of this and other measures, such as providing meal allowances for strikebreakers and setting up campbeds, during previous strikes. Are you aware that some fire appliances have been moved from their home station to fire service HQ for the duration of the 8 days of rolling strike action, leaving stations one fire engine down for a minimum of 20 hours each of these days?
If the Labour Party really aims to represent working class people, then this means supporting working class people such as firefighters, and their union, the FBU, in this dispute with the government. We believe that means publicly condemning the actions to break this strike and the Fire Authority, on which there is a Labour majority, ordering these measures to end.
For our part, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition has always been prepared to work with councillors who are prepared to oppose cuts and stand up to the vicious attacks of the Tory government. Your further inaction on this matter will lead to firefighters and other workers to draw the conclusion that the Labour Party is continuing to move further from representing their interests and that they must stand and support their own candidates who are truly opposed to austerity and its implementation.
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), West Yorkshire Convenor