Tonight our meeting was visited by two officers of the Fire Brigade Union, one at a York level, and one at a Yorkshire level. They came to speak about the cuts that are going to affect them over the coming months, and about connecting our campaign with their struggle. We agreed we would give them a platform at any future rally or public meeting where we could fit them in, and that we will promote any protest they launch as a way of standing in solidarity with them. But it isn’t just solidarity, because any of us could be the victims of fire, no matter how remote the chances, and if their service is further cut, we too will be put at risk.
They told us that up to a third of frontline, full time positions are to be stripped back over the next three years in the York area, with the central fire station potentially being abandoned under restructuring. They also told us that up to 2004 there were almost no deaths ‘on the job’ in the service, when cuts first came in, and stress levels rose and gaps between answering call outs shortened. Its easy to see why they’re angry, and with our lives at risk, no matter how safe we might think we are, it should be our job to protect this indisputably necessary service – further proof that the Cuts Agenda is affecting frontlines as well as “faceless bureaucrats”. The local FBU branch will hear a motion to affiliate at their next committee meeting and we’ll keep you posted on the outcome of their meeting with management later this week.