Ricky Matthews by Tim Lezard A striking firefighter has been sacked in Buckinghamshire after bosses told him the strike was unlawful. FBU execute member Ricky Matthews was informed he was summarily dismissed, even as his colleagues enter into the final …

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Ricky Matthews

Ricky Matthews

by Tim Lezard

A striking firefighter has been sacked in Buckinghamshire after bosses told him the strike was unlawful.

FBU execute member Ricky Matthews was informed he was summarily dismissed, even as his colleagues enter into the final day of five day’s strike action over pensions.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “The FBU congratulates our members across England for the solidarity and unity they have shown over the past three days. It is still clear that our case is absolutely solid and justified. The government’s case for an unaffordable and unworkable pension scheme takes no account of the realities of work in the fire and rescue service.

“Unfortunately, there has been a particular aggressive and hostile response from the fire and rescue authority in Buckinghamshire resulting in one of our executive council members, Ricky Matthews, being informed that he has been summarily dismissed.

“The Chief Fire Officer and his team have claimed that our call to strike was not lawful. This is utter rubbish. Employers are able to challenge unions in court. We were awaiting such a challenge, haven taken legal advice, and had a QC ready to defend our case.

“Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Authority did not attempt to take us to court or seek an injunction. This demonstrates very clearly that their claims and their case are without basis.

“At our meeting yesterday we have been told a whole list of examples of bullying, harassment and victimisation in the Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service.

“This is outrageous treatment of a long standing firefighter and an outrageous attack on the right to organise in a trade union. The FBU is now planning our response on a legal, political and industrial level.

“The FBU will stand by our victimised member.”

The union’s executive will meet again on Thursday and will also meet with local officials from across the country. They will hear reports from the latest strike action and address the steps needed to challenge the victimisation in Buckinghamshire.


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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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