12 Days Remaining

Tuesday 4th
posted by Conrad Landin in Britain

UNION officials yesterday held an emergency meeting to discuss their response to rogue Chief Fire Officer of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service who fired a union rep at the weekend for taking strike action.

Firefighter Ricky Matthews, who represents the Southern region on the Fire Brigades’ Union executive council, faces the sack after bosses claimed he did not show up for Saturday’s 6pm shift — when the union’s national strike began.

The county’s firefighters were threatened with disciplinary action and dismissal if they took part in the four-day industrial action over pensions.

An FBU spokesman said: “The FBU is very disappointed with the actions of Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes fire and rescue authority.

“An emergency session of the union’s executive council has been called to address the issue with further statements to come.”

It is not the first time that Buckinghamshire’s Chief Fire Officer Mark Jones’s anti-union practices have made headlines.

In July, the authority was the only brigade in the country to lock staff out for entire shifts when they took part in a series of four-hour walkouts.

A source close to the firefighters’ dispute voiced concern that the behaviour of Buckinghamshire managers could be replicated elsewhere.

Worryingly, London mayor Boris Johnson had touted plans to do likewise — but they were rejected by the London Assembly.

The source warned that Tory backbencher Tobias Ellwood was pressing for a merger of emergency services — which could see firefighters lose the right to strike.

The Prison Officers’ Association has been banned from striking since 1994. Its general secretary Steve Gillan warned of an assault on trade union rights across the public sector.

“Most trade unions are aware that if this government gets back in with a majority, some of the services provided by workers are likely to be deemed ‘essential services’ — meaning they would lose the right to strike.

“It’s a major retrograde step. Now even health workers and rail workers might be in danger.

“It’s crucial that this is fought now.”