Leicestershire firefighters have won a crucial victory against local politicans (both Labour and Conservative) by forcing them to publicly back down from many of their proposed cuts to local fireservices (January 27, Leicester Mercury).
Gavin Lynch, chair of the local branch of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), is clear that this success was the “direct result of the political and public pressure” exerted by the FBU campaign, with the assistance of their retired members. Without the support of the public and the 13,000 signatories on their petition against the fireservice cuts there can be little doubt that our fireservice would have suffered immensely. As Gavin explained:
“This unprecedented turn of events and support for our campaign shows the tremendous power and influence people sticking together can have, and a huge thank-you to everyone who has contributed so far – But the battle is by no means won.”
Pressure must be still brought to bear upon all our political representatives to let them know that we will not accept dangerous cuts to our already poorly funded service without a fight. If you haven’t done so already, join the ongoing campaign to save our services and say no to cuts.
On the morning of February 10th the FBU have called a lobby of the Combined Fire Authority decision-makers: print their poster, put it up in your window, and tell your family and friends to do everything we can to make this a day that the Fire Authority will never forget!
Two days before this momentous day, Leicester Socialist Students are also holding a public meeting at Leicester University titled “Why emergency service workers have been striking and how you can help” from 6pm onwards.
Of course, the decision to make cuts to fireservices is a political rather than an economic decision. But it is only when firefighters fight-back with the support of the public that our politicans truly understand the reason why they should refuse to make cuts.
The truth undermining any proposals that include cuts to our fireservices has already been made clear by City Labour Councillor Ross Willmott, who explained at the last city Council meeting that:
“… if you look at the budget figures, and I’ve put these to the City Mayor and the Chief Finance Officer, and been told that I am quite right in my assumptions – if you were to take all of the reserves in the fire authority budget, and you used those over the next four years, in the first year there’s a surplus of £3 million in the budget, in year two there’s a surplus of £2.7 million, in year three the surplus is £1.5 million, and in year four the surplus is £0.2 million – i.e. no savings at all for four years.”
Echoing Jeremy Corbyn, FBU General Secretary, Matt Wrack, is defiant that no cuts are necessary to public services. This is because the entire edifice of austerity is based upon lies, piled upon more lies.
Britain is a rich country, one of the richest in the world. There is plenty of money for well-funded public services, it is just that in recent years no politicans have been willing to fight for them. £120 billion a year goes uncollected in tax from the super-rich: how about we start electing politicans like Corbyn who are willing to collect it.