No Cuts to our Fire Service!

17th May 2013

Knight review calls for cuts to fire-fighters, fire stations and fire engines.

At least one television and radio were seriously in danger of going out the window this morning as the BBC continues to play the role of a megaphone for government propaganda in favour of cuts.

This morning they were promoting the Knight Review of fire and rescue services as bringing about efficiencies. What it will bring about if it's recommendations are accepted, is an increase in needless deaths and injuries.

Speaking at Swansea Trades Council's May Day Rally, Chair of FBU Cymru, Cerith Griffiths, highlighted local cuts already taking place, including replacing fire engines with vans and halving shift numbers in Llanelli.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union who spoke at the May Day rally in Cardiff said "The review of the fire and rescue service by Ken Knight is just a fig leaf for slashing our fire and rescue service to bits. David Cameron has promised to protect front line services. That has been exposed as a lie over the past three years as the fire service has faced the biggest cuts in its history.

"It is not just the Fire Brigades Union warning about this. Increasingly others in the fire service, including Chief Officers, are concerned over our ability to deliver this essential service. Fire stations are being closed and fire engines are being axed. Last year alone a further 1,200 firefighter jobs were cut. All these cuts mean a poorer service for the public. They mean waiting longer for a fire engine if you have a fire or other emergency. Ken Knight is attempting to bury all these facts in order to justify further cuts in the government’s forthcoming spending review."

Trade unionists need to get behind FBU resistance to these cuts. The Knight Review and cuts to fire and rescue services is one more attack on essential public services to add to coastguard closures, the destruction of NHS services, rail and mail privatisation and a thousand others. Together they add up to an irrefutable case for a general strike to halt cuts and privatisation.

Come to the Welsh Shop Stewards Network Conference, June 8, in Cardiff to discuss how we can make this a reality.

Ronnie Job, secretary Swansea Trades Council
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