FIREFIGHTERS throughout England and Wales walked out of their fire stations at noon yesterday at the beginning of the Fire Brigades Union National Pensions Strike.
At Holloway Fire Station, there was a strong picket of at least 20 firefighters.
Patrick Glennon said: ‘It’s outrageous behaviour by the government. I think there should be a public sector alliance and I think the government should be brought down and I would take part in a general strike.’
Jim Farrel said: ‘On LBC Radio today 95% of people supported the firefighters, including busworkers.
‘We should go out for eight days straight. Going out a day here and a day there is not enough. It’s not as effective as eight days.
‘This is a war against the government. We’re not all in it together, even when we’re told we are. MPs got a £12,000 pay rise!’
At Euston, FBU members and officers were joined on the picket line by delegations of RMT members, TSSA members, Unison members and Camden Trades Council.
They were joined by the FBU Battle Bus which on its side said: ‘Workers of the World Unite!’
Euston FBU Branch Secretary Dan Giblin told News Line: ‘Everybody that goes out of these doors has a responsibility. The public have a right to be safe.
‘You can’t have that with firefighters who are too old. That’s our message.
‘People are angry, they face capability sackings. We are faced with being out of a job and out of a pension.’
Sean Hoyle, RMT National Executive member, said: ‘We’re here in solidarity. We’ve actually got RMT Tube drivers refusing to take their trains out on safety grounds for the four hours the FBU are on strike.
‘We are not that far from King’s Cross and we don’t need our memories jogged that much with a repeat of that tragedy.’
He added: ‘RMT members will definitely be supporting the Chase Farm march on October 26th.’
A Euston firefighter who did not wish to be named for fear of management reprisals, insisted: ‘This isn’t a cash strike. It’s about being forced to work till we’re 60. It’s about capability tests which will lead to the sack if we fail them, which would lead to the suspension of our pensions.
‘Most of these people here dreamt of being firefighters. They know the public won’t be safe with 60-year-old firefighters – it’s a strenuous, physical job.
‘The whole irony is the government sanctioned a survey to see if these proposals would work. The results were wholeheartedly “No”.
‘But they ignored them and pressed ahead anyway. The feeling about further action is hopefully not, but probably yes.’
Louise Lambe, Unison member from Birkbeck College, told News Line: ‘I’m here in solidarity with Euston FBU and all the firefighters on strike today.
‘We are in Unison and the UCU balloting for strike action in higher education over a one per cent pay offer – in effect a 13 per cent pay cut.
‘Osborne says we’re coming out of recession, but who is benefiting – it’s not the firefighters, not the health workers, not the teachers. We’re all in it together in solidarity with the FBU and all public sector workers.’