Support for firefighters goes up in smoke

To Londoners, firefighters are heroes.  These are men and women  prepared to risk their lives to keep the people of the capital safe, and the admiration for the London Fire Brigade up until now has been so high, it seemed that would never change. That admiration is now in jeopardy, because the London Fire Brigade is about to strike and the date they have picked for the strike is November 5th, Fireworks Day.

Kurt Russell as the hero fireman in Backdraft.

Londoners have always believed that firemen cared deeply about the safety of the public, and now that belief is called into question. On the ITV news tonight, there was also a report that the men who are replacing the firemen who strike are being hassled for filling the breach.

This is all dreadfully sad.  David Cameron has condemned the date of the strike as reckless and cynical.  Boris has pledged he is doing his utmost to protect the capital, but he will not surrender, now or ever, to strike action.  Understandably, the firemen dislike the change of hours that will be imposed by their employers, but then again, they have jobs to go to, and thousands have not.  We all have to make compromises. In the  famous film about fire fighters, Backdraft, the firemen are such a tightly knit, devoted unit, they have a saying, each to the other.  “If you go, we go.”   London says to the London Fire Brigade “If you go, (and strike on 5th November, ) we cannot go with you.”

UPDATE.  London firemen only work 71 days a year and 71 nights a year.  They have 4 free days in every 8 days, plus special paid leave of 21 days. If they have 30 year service, they can retire at the age of 50 in full pay. A competent fireman earns £33,220 p.a. for the days explained above, which is £600 more than the average salary in the capital.  The rest of the amazing perks enjoyed by firemen are listed here.

11 responses to “Support for firefighters goes up in smoke

  1. Let me examine your link and think about this one.

  2. As management arbitrarily set a date of 26th November for the signing of the new contracts with no room for consultation, I think, once again, Boris has been completely disingenuous.
    In South Yorkshire, where these shift patterns are already used, this was achieved by consultation with the FBU. There are problem with a similar move in London however, as around 50% of Firefighters live outside of London, due to housing costs. Bopris and the management of London Fire brigade are pretty much set on an ideological confrontation with the FBU. This is playing politics with peoples lives, and unforgiveable.

  3. If somebody dies, that will demonstrate how irresponsible it was of the London Fire Brigade to strike on Bonfire Night, which is also Diwali. It was an utterly stupid thing to do, and has lost the firemen support.

    However, I stick by my assertion, we love our firemen, we are not demonising them in any way. I just don’t think that the shift changes they are being asked to accept necessitate such a dangerous strike on 5th November. Boris says they have been offered a compromise and he wanted them back at the negotiating table, but they refused.

    The emergency cover will not be to blame if there are flaws in their work. Boris says anyway that the chances of somebody dying by fire on Bonfire Night are miniscule.

  4. Not if there is a serious issue over emergency cover. But of course, a failing here will only come to light after someone dies. Someone in a wealthier suburb, otherwise no-one will care.

  5. No, I make it plain they are heroes to us. It’s just that everyone has to make sacrifices in the credit crunch, they are totally brave, and get a great deal, which is good, but surely they can accomodate management over a shift change if they are getting a lot of time off?

  6. …coming soon – how to become your own Paramedic/Policeman/Surgeon.
    Wonder who else the right can find to demonise – well, until the next 7/7 – then I suppose you lot will be all over them like a rash.
    Funny that, before May, our Armed Forces were chronically underfunded – now of course, they can get by with even fewer helicopters in Afghanistan, apparently our soldiers now have the power of unaided flight, and are bullet proof.

  7. Hmm, they not only have good working conditions, but also regularly do a job that puts their lives in danger. How selfish, and so unlike your “Big society” get the buckets ready…


  9. This is not only stupid, it is also very dangerous. And it is the Festival of Deval as well, so they light fireworks for that.

  10. This is an absolutely irresponsible thing to do and everyone is agreed that it is reckless, foohardy and cynical.

  11. This will lose them popularity. It’s a stupid move. Even the left wing rag the Daily Mirror, says they shouldn’t do it.

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