Friday, September 1

Do you believe everything you read?

Merseyside Fire Service are about to embark on industrial action. Whilst reading the news reports of the situation it took me back to when we came out for the National Strike. One side says one thing and the other side deny it.

Firefighters and Control Operators are striking due to fire station closures, shift changes and loss of posts. This does not mean that firefighters going to work will face a redundancy letter tomorrow, but it means that those retiring will not be replaced. My Brigade has gone through some serious shift changes and it has been very disruptive to fire cover.

So what does this mean for Joe Public? If your local fire station is losing its fire engine then obviously, should you need one, then it has to travel from further afield. Fire engines have been placed (many years ago, well most of them...) according to risk. It would be remiss of me to state that these risks don't change, they do. But whilst they change, we also have different risks added to the equation. We have more apartments and houses being built. We have more houses of multi occupancy, many of which are not disclosed until there is an issue. We have faster cars. Firefighters are facing more and more anti-social behaviour, being shot at with air rifles, bricks through windows and booby traps being set in derelict properties. But more importantly we have a threat of terrorism. To me, it seems a crazy idea to reduce the number of firefighters. We need more, not less.

The two sides now face a 'stale-mate'. The FBU are being accused of not willing to sit down and negotiate. The Brigade stating that they have asked for a meeting and the FBU have refused. Personally I would not wish to attend a meeting where it has already been stated, this is our position and we are not willing to change it. Productive meetings are where both sides compromise on issues, not one-sided.

It is never an easy decision to take this sort of action. A lot of soul searching has to be carried out. Yet, the long term consequences of what the changes mean are far worse.

The press can be very persuasive towards one side. Make sure both sides are understood before judging.

Anyway... On a lighter note... A nice family of ducks were rescued by a brave bunch of firefighters from a storm drain. Only to find themselves back there the very next day. Apparently, they are creatures of habit and will continue to swim into the drain (from a local river) until they are too big to fit through the pipe. And here I was thinking people are stupid!!


caramaena said...

heh, silly ducks!

Good luck with the negotiations over there. It seems silly to me that you'd reduce such an essential service like this.

Anonymous said...

Ducks are stupid.....