Congratulations to the Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union turns 100

The Firefighters’ Story: 100 years of the Fire Brigades Union

A new documentary style film, The Firefighters’ Story: 100 years of the Fire Brigades Union, was launched at Bristol’s Cube cinema on Sunday, 4 February, on the anniversary of the death of firefighter Fleur Lombard, who died on duty after arsonists set a supermarket alight in 1996.

Tam McFarlane, FBU south west EC member, opened the special screening and chaired a lively Q & A session afterwards with FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack. Among the audience asking questions were 3 Labour MPs – Thangam Debonnaire, Kerry McCarthy and David Drew, former Fire Authority Chair Terry Walker and ex councillor Rosalie Walker and South West TUC secretary Nigel Costley.

The hour long film traces the history of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) since its inception at the end of the First World War, and the contribution the union has made over ten decades to improve public and firefighter safety through its campaigning work. Known as ‘tombstone legislation’ these improvements generally follow big fire incidents such as the Manchester Woolworths fire of 1979 which resulted in a ban on foam filled furniture. The Firefighters’ Story, narrated by actress Sue Johnson of The Royle Family fame, explores several major fires – such as the Glasgow Cheapside fire of 1960 in a whisky and tobacco warehouse in which 19 firefighters died – and their subsequent impact on safety. It draws to a close with the Grenfell Tower disaster. A trailer can be seen at fbu.org.uk/news.

Look out for Firefighters Memorial Day on 4th May, when every fire station will hold a minute’s silence at noon commemorating the bravery and sacrifice of those who have lost their lives in this most dangerous profession.

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Trades Union Councils’ Programme of Work – 2016 – 2017

The theme for the Trades Union Councils Programme of Work for 2016 to 2017 is ‘Protect Jobs, Defend Living Standards’. It sets out a positive vision of trade unions as we know them to be: a democratic force for fairness in the modern workplace. It highlights the role that trades union councils play in developing and promoting trades unions and in campaigning on the core values of the TUC and the union movement.

The key areas of campaigning for the year are:

  1. protecting workers’ rights to strike, promoting trade unionism and building union organisation;
  2. setting out the case for a high investment, high productivity economy with great jobs and skills at its heart;
  3. making devolution and decentralisation work for people;
  4. reaching out to young workers;
  5. support and campaigning for the Welfare Charter
  6. fighting racism and fascism

This programme of work has developed by the Trades Union Councils’ Joint Consultative Committee (TUCJCC) to ensure that trades union councils can identify their part in TUC campaigns and help implement the resolutions passed at the 2016 trades union councils conference.

The Trades Union Councils’ Programme of Work – 2016 – 2017 can be found here

Bristol City Council Redundancies

Bristol Trades Union Council is horrified at the announcement by Bristol City Council that it plans to sack 1000 of it’s workforce by the end of September 2016. The announcement has come without regard on how this will impact the lives of those losing their jobs or to the services that these trade union members provide.

Andy Roberston, Secretary of Bristol Trades Union Council, in responding to this bombshell from Bristol City Council said

The Government is to blame for this. The Conservative Government only appears to be interested in rich high-profile people who avoid paying their taxes, dip their hands into our pension funds or speculate with our savings, and when it all goes wrong the Government bails them out to the tune of billions of pounds with the taxes paid by workers and to the detriment of the services that working people are entitled to have provided by the Government and local councils.

Bristol Trades Union Council will stand shoulder to shoulder with the trade union members at Bristol City Council to ensure the City Mayor and Council members implement the four-point plan proposed by the trade unions at Bristol City Council.

UNISON, UNITE the UNION, GMB have issued a joint press statement which can be found here Swingeing government cuts will decimate council services in Bristol, say unions

Bristol Unite Branches support Weymouth bus drivers in strike against ‘poverty pay’

Bristol Unite Branches have responded positively to a financial appeal to support striking Weymouth bus drivers.

Unite points out that First Group is a very profitable UK company that can afford to reward its Bristol drivers with a 13 per cent increase, but for its employees in Weymouth and Bridport  the deal on the table is only 2.3 per cent over two years from August 2015.

The Weymouth and Bridport drivers earn about £18,300-a-year – or £8.80 an hour, while First Group drivers in Yeovil are on £9.50 per hour. Drivers working for rival firms in Bournemouth and Poole earn nearly £2 an hour more.

Nearly 90 per cent of the drivers voted in favour of strike action.

More information about the dispute can be found here  A fourth week of strikes by Weymouth bus drivers