FBU members visit London to lobby their MPs over shift dispute

Image courtesy of the FBU

Image courtesy of the FBU

FBU members travelling to Parliament have been told they are not allowed to wear their uniforms.

Emergency control staff are today lobbying their MPs over the continuing dispute in Essex about an imposed and untenable shift system.

Unlike firefighters from most other brigades, they will not be allowed to wear their uniforms whilst in Parliament, due to their bosses having some of the most radical and hardline anti-union policies.

FBU control members in Essex have been on strike for the past week over staff being forced out of the workplace through the introduction of an anti-family shift system.

Alan Chinn-Shaw, secretary of the FBU in Essex, said: “It will not be lost on MPs that emergency control professionals will be lobbying Parliament on the day that Chancellor George Osborne gives his 2015 budget.

“At a time of austerity the FBU in Essex has made fully costed proposals to the fire service on cost neutral alternatives to this shift system that work for both staff and the fire service budget.

“Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s refusal to negotiate over options that will not cost an extra penny demonstrate they are not committed to good industrial relations.”

The nine day strike is due to end tomorrow with the possibility of further strike dates being added.

The account below is from an FBU control member: “The original shift pattern that I worked would mean I would leave my house at 08:00 to go to work and drop my two children off en route making it into work for 08:45 ready for my second day shift.

“On the new shift pattern my childcare goes from one morning a week to the following:

“On my first day shift my husband will have to drop my two children off at a child-minder for 18:30 in order for him to get to work, I won’t be able to pick them up until 19:45 and that is as long as I leave on time and that there are no delays.

“My second day shift, as my husband doesn’t finish until 09:00, I will have to get my children up at 05:00 in the morning in order to get them ready for school, and drop them off at 06:00 in order for me to get to work for 07:00.

“I then have it again that evening where they are dropped off at 18:30 and I can’t pick them up until 19:45.

“My young children are now having two late nights and one really early morning in order for me to go to work.

“I’m going from one morning a week with a sociable time where I am dropping them off to this. The cost of childcare at these times is astronomical let alone a worry on their education and well-being.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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