STOP FIRE STATION AND A&E CLOSURES! – defend emergency services

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Firefighters marching in London with a current message that the fire service must be defended otherwise lives will be lost
Firefighters marching in London with a current message that the fire service must be defended otherwise lives will be lost

‘WE will be telling the management and the Mayor of London tomorrow that the cuts are totally unacceptable,’ London Fire Brigades Union (FBU) South West Region Organiser Paul Neale told News Line yesterday.

Speaking on the eve of today’s mass lobby of the London Fire Brigade HQ, Neale continued: ‘We will be telling them the cuts will leave the people of London without the fire service they need and want.

‘By cutting 12 fire stations, plus 18 fire engines and untold amounts of jobs, this will lead to our firefighters not having the resources that they need to carry out the professional job they do.

‘Bear in mind that the machines at the helicopter crash at Vauxhall were from Clapham fire station, which is set for closure.

‘Add to this, Clapham fire station were told to remove posters informing the local community of the consequences of the fire station shutting.

‘What are management trying to hide from the local community?

‘I would ask the public to please sign our petitions and ask their MPs and councillors to stop these disastrous cuts.

‘Our union is mobilising and will fight these cuts.’

FBU London region secretary Paul Embury said: ‘We think the cuts are reckless and wrong.

‘They could undoubtedly jeopardise public safety.

‘We are protesting to tell Boris Johnson to think again.

‘If he doesn’t, we will campaign vigorously alongside the public to defend London’s fire service.

‘We can’t rule out industrial action and will be consulting our members on what action to take if Johnson doesn’t change his mind.

‘We’re expecting a good turnout tomorrow with delegations of other unions supporting us.’

The North East London Council of Action, which is fighting the closure of Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield, is supporting today’s lobby.

Its secretary, Bill Rogers, told News Line: ‘We are supporting the FBU, and we are opposed to the closure of fire stations and A&Es.

‘If the Tories have their way there will be no A&Es or fire stations to deal with emergencies in the way that the copter crash in Vauxhall was so successfully dealt with.

‘The plan to close scores of District General Hospitals and fire stations is criminal and must be stopped.

‘This is why we are going to occupy Chase Farm Hospital to stop it closing, and I urge firefighters to occupy their fire stations.

‘We must form a common front. Saving lives must come first. The Tories must be brought down by mass strike actions. We need a workers government.

‘Nothing is more important than keeping the life saving services alive!’

Speakers at the lobby will include FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack, RMT General Secretary Bob Crow and PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka.

The PCS has condemned Department for Education (DfE) board members over treating mass sackings as a joke.

In what the union has described as a ‘monumental loss of judgement’ DfE board members played a game at Christmas whereby they were not allowed to remove their Xmas party hats until they said what they were cutting.

The PCS concluded: ‘With many of our members facing losing their jobs or being forced to travel much further to work we said this was a “clear and deliberate ridiculing of our members’ anxieties”.’