FireBrigades Union activists from all over Britain travelled to Westminster on November 17 to protest against the proposed 25 per cent cuts taking place in the Fire and Rescue Service over the next four years. These will include, according to the FBU, 10,000 threatened jobs, pay cuts, pension cuts and changes to conditions of service.
The FBU and over 3,000 firefighters declared that they would not allow the cuts to go ahead, since, according to the organisation, they would threaten not only firefighter safety, but public safety. The speakers at the event includedKaty Clark, MP Frances O'Grady TUC Deputy General Secretary, John Cryer, MP and John McDonnell, MP. All backed the industrial action and urged other public service workers to join them.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: "We will stand together and we will not be broken. We face a pay freeze and huge attacks on jobs and conditions as part of an ideological, political assault against public services. If it means striking together, then so be it. We are entering the fight of our lives." Meanwhile, Sian Griffiths - a firefighter suspended by London Fire Authority for alleged bullying during the strikes - received a standing ovation. Ian Leahair declared that the FBU fully supported her, and that there would be no back-to-work agreement in London until she was reinstated. Sian Griffiths said: "Stay strong. When they come for you, stick together and fight back."