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FBU conference 2024 Firefighters slam government-funded private enterprise for ‘moulding’ sector ‘as sees fit’

FIREFIGHTERS have hit out at the National Fire Chiefs Council, a private enterprise claiming to be the “professional” voice of the service.

The NFCC received £8 million out of its £12m income from the Home Office, according to its financial statement released last year.

Speaking at the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) conference in Blackpool today, Merseyside FBU secretary Ian Hibbert, called it an “unelected body” that draws millions in taxpayers’ money in an attempt to “mould the Fire and Rescue Service as they see fit.”

He said that although firefighters are meant to be regulated by the National Joint Council, there has been a shift, with policy guidance pushed by the NFCC becoming standard.

Last year the body faced a backlash for suggesting the downgrading of breathing apparatus in high-rise fires.

Mr Hibbert said the NFCC had not only attacked safeguarding; it had proposed recruitment guidelines which would disproportionately affect marginalised communities.

Cheshire FBU chairman Jack Fellows said the NFCC’s “code of ethics” is used against members in disciplinary cases, “yet we have no input into this code.”

And FBU Euston secretary Mohammed Ahmed underlined that for many years the body refused to accept a link between the profession and cancer.

A resolution was passed, with the Merseyside branch urging the FBU to “use every weapon at our disposal” to “curb these incursions.”

Speaking separately on pay, general secretary Matt Wrack noted there had been a trend since 2003 towards local arrangements, which could undermine the drive towards national collective bargaining.

He said: “I think it needs to be on everyone’s agenda, that when when employers approach us locally, we need to think about the implications of that for what we’re trying to achieve nationally.”


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