FBU welcomes Swindon councillors backing talks to end pensions fight

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, Public (PSI), FBU, UK unions,

Swindon Borough CouncilA Tory-controlled council has called on the government to resume talks with the FBU to settle the national firefighters’ dispute.

Members of Swindon Borough Council were lobbied on their way into a meeting by members of the Swindon Peoples’ Assembly, an active local community group which has supported the FBU’s cause throughout the dispute. Union officials were also in attendance.

The council’s Labour group moved a motion encouraging the government to talk to the union in a bid to settle the dispute, but then a member of the council’s majority Tory group – also a member of the Fire Authority – proposed an amendment parroting the official Westminster line about ‘gold-plated pension arrangements’.

Although only one of his colleagues offered any word of support, they all raised their hands to back the official central government line. But after the amendment, even the Tories backed the call for talks to end the dispute.

FBU Wiltshire brigade secretary Brent Thorley said: “The union is grateful to Councillor Jim Grant and the Labour Group for proposing the motion and backing the demand for talks.

“But I’m mystified how Conservative councillors can argue that our pensions are top class while also voting to resume talks to ensure they are fair and equitable! How can they be top class if they are not fair?

“The Tory group in Swindon moves in mysterious ways – but it is great news to have a call for resumed negotiations from Swindon’s Tory-controlled council.”

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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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