It would appear that all FRS coped during the industrial action due to non-striking staff together with contingency arrangements that have been put in place by senior management.
As we witness the end of the most recent period of strike action and rumours of more action to come, I thought it appropriate to reaffirm that your decision not to strike is the correct one.
We choose to use the power of argument at the negotiating table rather than the withdrawal of labour, you do not need to justify your actions to anyone intending to strike, or require their approval. Be proud of yourselves and the essential job you do.
It is often said that firefighters are heroes and deserve all the praise levelled at them and I would never disagree, however, the public approval earned by hard work and self-sacrifice is easily lost when emergency workers walk away; this is one of many reasons why the RFU has a no strike constitution.
Let me remind you of two important facts:
- Fitness standards are agreed locally and can be amended locally.
- The Normal Pension Age (NPA) of 60 has been in existence since 2006 when the New Firefighters Pension Scheme (NFPS) was introduced, yet no industrial action was undertaken at that time.
It is important to repeat that the public we are all proud to serve, not least the vulnerable and less able, who have had no input whatsoever into this dispute are being placed at higher risk of injury and damage to property during any industrial action.
Zero tolerance to unacceptable behaviour
As this dispute continues we have to be vigilant in our approach to any reports of inappropriate behaviour toward our members who are doing their very best to keep others safe.
Any concerns should always be reported to the service via the local rep who will also pass on the information to RFU HQ.
As previously highlighted, if you have colleagues on station who are not taking industrial action, now is the time to bring the RFU package of benefits to their attention, cover begins from the moment applications are received here at RFU HQ. Online applications will be processed without delay, please visit our website.
If you are on a station that is not taking strike action and are not RFU members, please call 01953 455005, or email and we would be happy to arrange a station visit.
My message to all members is to continue to protect your communities as usual; the public deserve it and will thank you for it.
John Barton OBE
National General Secretary