Posts Tagged ‘FBU’

I woke to a cold, windy, rainy Saturday and I really really didn’t feel much like walking out the door. I also worried that no one else was going to feel like leaving their nice warm homes to join us, leaving just a handful of us and all of the firemen. Though now that I think about it, that would not have been bad at all! But I did get up, I did walk on down to Holy Trinity Church, and I needn’t have worried at all:


We had a great turnout for the day I thought, and people joined us as we marched, I think locals, and definitely the Southwark SOS and Goldsmiths contingent arrived a little later. We started it off with speeches, Labour was there in force and it was definitely great seeing them fighting against Boris Johnson’s cuts. Maybe it will inspire them to stop implementing their own and fight against all of the cuts. Finally we heard from the General Secretary of the FBU

FBU Gen Sec

And then finally finally we were off! Walking in the rain is far better then standing in the rain.


But here is who we were marching for


Firemen and women! Who doesn’t love them? We had clearly grown by the time we got to firestation


We stopped there a while then turned, and march down to Clapham High Street and Clapham North Tube, passing flyers to everyone standing around watching. We had some cheers, some honking of horns, the only police presence consisted of a police car driving by in the opposite direction of our march make cute siren noises in support — it was lovely really. Then back to the Common for some more speeches — Rahul was great moderating them. Among others we heard from Mandy from Lambeth Collge UCU:

and Andy speaking for Unison and Lambeth SOS (no pics because we have enough pics of Andy with a megaphone I think! It’s great he’s always willing to be the public speaker because many, like me, tremble at the thought…), then Brian from FBU, who did so much to make this happen:

Brian from FBU

and then some of the most well informed people on how cuts will actually cut down response time and impact the community


A great demo, and we ended up in the Rose and Crown of course. I was wishing for a little more conviviality, lots of people ended up there but we all stayed in our own little groups for the most part. I think we should think about how to use after-march pints to get to know each other a little better…

The next planning meeting is this Tuesday evening at the Bread and Roses Pub, 7pm.

London Fire Station Closures

Posted: February 12, 2013 by blackdaffodil in Cutswatch, Demonstrate, Rally & Occupy!
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Stuart King reports on a struggle that pits Boris Johnson against the London Fire Authority, the FBU and local communities across London

On Monday it was standing room only at the Bread and Roses in Clapham. A meeting had been called to organise against the threatened closure of Clapham Fire Station. At least eighty trade union and community activists crammed in to hear local Labour MP Kate Hoey, GLA member Val Shawcross, Ian Leahair FBU Executive member and local councillors report on the fight to stop fire station closures.

Boris Johnson in his recent eye catching announcement that he was cutting the GLA council tax precept by 7p, neglected to tell Londoners that as a result some of them will pay with their lives. He intends to pay for this reduction by closing down 12 fire stations across London, reducing the number of fire appliances by 18 and making 520 fire fighters redundant. The result will be delays in reaching fires, reduced fire prevention work that has helped cut the number of incidents across London in the last decade, and a situation that makes the capital a more dangerous place to live.

_65834087_65834085The London Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has been organising a lobbying and publicity campaign aimed at the Mayor around the slogan “He slashes, while you burn”. One result has been to strengthen the backbone of the GLA members on the London Fire Authority who have stood up to Johnson and refused to back the cuts. On two occasions the authority has voted 9 to 8 to refuse to move to consultation on the proposed closures, a result of a Labour, Lib-Dems and Green Party alliance.

Johnson’s attempt to direct the Fire Commissioner and the Fire Authority to start the necessary consultation around the proposed cuts failed after an emergency meeting of the authority on February 11 decided to reject the Mayor’s direction. Johnson now intends to try and overturn the Fire Authority’s decision in the high court, claiming they are effectively setting an unlawful budget

These closure proposals will only be stopped by a massive campaign across London.

Both union and community action needed

At the Clapham meeting Ian Leahair, an FBU Executive Committee member, put the message across that “it was up to you, the public, to save the fire station”, implying that the FBU wouldn’t be taking industrial action itself. While he struck a militant note with a suggestion that the community could occupy the fire station on closure, the problem is that by the time the stations are closed and fire tenders withdrawn the struggle will be well on the way to being lost. The question rather is how do we prevent the closures from going ahead?

Fortunately there were lots of local trade unionists at the meeting; FBU members from Clapham and Westminster, Unison members, teachers from Lambeth and Wandsworth, UCU members, RMT officers, including several members from the local anti-cuts groups Lambeth Save Our Services. The unions offered solidarity and support for FBU action.

We managed over the course of the meeting to put across two things. Firstly, that we needed a two-pronged strategy that included community action alongside strike action by the FBU if we were to win. Secondly we emphasised that this could not be seen as a “hands off our local fire station” campaign but needed to be a London wide campaign against all the closures and job cuts. By the end of the meeting brother Leahair was saying the FBU would of course consult their members on action “when the time was right”.

Grass roots organisation

Quite clearly the FBU members themselves need to set up a London wide network of militants campaigning against closures – both to pressure the regional FBU officials to take action and importantly to build solid links between the 12 stations under threat and the other fire stations. Only if all the fire fighters in London stand together can this round of closures be prevented through militant, and if necessary, sustained strike action across London combined with a mass community campaign.

And FBU members should be aware that this is only the first round. The Tory minister in charge of the fire service has just written to the Regulatory Reform Committee at Westminster seeking its views on new laws to “enable fire and rescue authorities in England to contract out their full range of services to a suitable provider”. This is the first move in plans for the wholesale privatisation of the fire service.

The meeting in Clapham agreed to set-up an open organising committee drawing in local trade unions, political parties and community groups to co-ordinate the campaign in an open and democratic manner – previously it had been run by Labour Party councillors. Hopefully such campaigns will be organised across London. A local demonstration in Clapham is planned for Saturday 16 March and we certainly need a mass London wide demonstration by the spring if Johnson gets the courts to over-rule the fire authority.

For further information go to:


Support our Fire Brigade!

Posted: January 14, 2013 by blackdaffodil in Demonstrate, Rally & Occupy!
Tags: , ,
 You’ve probably seen the recent announcement about the proposed closure of 12 fire stations in London – including Clapham. This involves the removal of 18 fire engines and the cutting of 400 firefighter jobs.
We hope to see you at the FBU lobby of the Fire Authortity meeting on Monday 21st January, assemble at 1:30 pm at  Brigade HQ, 169 Union Street, SE1 0LL
FBU Lobby

What You Can Do to Save Clapham Fire Station!

Posted: December 11, 2012 by blackdaffodil in Cutswatch
Tags: ,

We have borrowed most of the text from the Save Clapham Station website, which you should visit here, because who can tell you better than they can just what we stand to lose? But of course we know that fire can not only destroy every possession we most hold dear, but also kill. A fire station is an integral part of our community along with every man and woman who staffs it and keeps us safe. Once this station is lost it is gone forever, so join us in the fight to keep it!
Other fire cuts in London will have a DETRIMENTAL IMPACT on fire cover in this area with other fire stations being stretched much further. This will inevitably impact on ATTENDANCE TIMES IN CLAPHAM.

  • 25% of fire cover in Lambeth Borough will disappear forever
  • West Norwood Fire Station is being rebuilt 2 miles further away from Clapham, which will also affect the attendance times for your area.
  • Lambeth Borough has the most residential fires in London! Attendance times and local knowledge is of critical importance in all emergency situations. A fire doubles in size every minute.
  1. Sign the Petition (and get your friends/family to)
  2. Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter
  3. Contact your local MP or Councillor
  4. Print off the Posters and help raise awareness
  5. Sign the Fire Brigades’ Union petition