News has emerged that the FBU ballot for industrial action has produced a majority vote in favour, as follows:
For action: 18,277 – 77.7%
Against: 5,166 – 21.9%
Total vote: 23,507
Strike action in an emergency service is always very much a matter of regret and once again public safety will be placed at risk. The very people whose taxes fund the wages of firefighters face disruption and potential danger; they are the innocent party in a dispute beyond their control. Public approval of firefighters is always very high, but strikes, if they occur, will inevitably damage such hard earned approval, as we witnessed in the last national dispute over 10 years ago.
As a union which represents On-Call firefighters throughout the UK we need to be perfectly clear about our commitment to supporting communities where we are able and this means providing our total support for our members as they continue to serve their friends and neighbours.
We understand and accept that those who feel strongly in favour of undertaking strike action should have the freedom to do so, provided it is legal, however such freedom carries with it the responsibility to allow those who are not members of the FBU and therefore not having been balloted, to be able to undertake their duties unhindered and free from threats and intimidation.
Information has emerged of pressure being applied to non-FBU members in the lead up to the ballot result which is causing distress to RFU members who are under no obligation whatsoever to toe the FBU line.
Differences of opinions and approaches to issues should be mutually respected and we hope that this will be the case with regards to those who choose to strike and those who choose to work as normal.
We urge any RFU members who are on the receiving end of veiled threats, intimidation or more extreme measures in whatever form to gather evidence, (camera phones are a readily available means of doing so) and report the matter to the Police in the first instance and contact their local official or RFU HQ without delay. Such behaviour will not be tolerated and we expect FRSs to apply a zero tolerance approach to any event.
We know that many On Call fire fighters are not members of any union, perhaps now is the time to consider the benefits of RFU membership, where we can provide support for those intending to serve the community.
Call or email today on.
National General Secretary