19 July 2012
Essex firefighters staged a solid 24-hour strike on Wednesday 18 July – with a 1,000-strong march through the town of Chelmsford.
More strikes were already planned for 18 August and 18 October, and the firefighters’ FBU union has now announced a series of further short strikes – and will refuse all duties other than 999 calls for periods during the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies.
Fire service bosses have threatened to stop the pay of fire crews for what they call “partial performance” of duties – they want to refuse to pay crews even when they are not on strike.
The firefighters need support from fellow trade unionists and members of the public whose lives will be at risk if the cuts go through.
Support the firefighters
FBU members were joined on Wednesday’s march by workers from the threatened Coryton oil refinery, in a great display of solidarity between public and private sector workers fighting to save jobs.
The strikes and industrial action are the latest stage in a long-running dispute over cuts to jobs and conditions. The firefighters are battling to protect jobs, fire engines and their crucial public service.
Essex has already lost 100 full-time and 80 part-time firefighting jobs since 2008 and the FBU has warned that if the latest round of cuts goes ahead, it will mean one in five firefighters’ jobs lost in the past four years.