British firefighters union statement in light of Brexit vote

Posted: July 6, 2016 by Admin in At the coalface, British politics, capitalist crisis, Class Matters, Economics, Firefighters, Internationalism, Limits of capitalism, Open Borders/Immigration Controls, Workers' rights
Demonstrators crowd the area around the Bank of England as they gather for the start of a protest against the British government's spending cuts and austerity measures in London on June 20, 2015. The national demonstration against austerity was organised by People's Assembly against government spending cuts. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Demonstrators crowd the area around the Bank of England as they gather for the start of a protest against the British government’s spending cuts and austerity measures in London on June 20, 2015. The national demonstration against austerity was organised by People’s Assembly against government spending cuts. Photo:  JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images.

The following statement was released on June 24:

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, responding to the announcement that the UK has voted to leave the European Union, said: “The Westminster government must respect the outcome of yesterday’s referendum and take action to implement it.

“The resignation of David Cameron will not be mourned by firefighters or other workers – indeed it would be better if the entire government resigned. Since 2010, Cameron has overseen a programme to drive down wages and to slash funding for public services. As a result, wages and living standards have stagnated, public services are in a critical condition and we face a growing housing crisis. This has been the background to the referendum debate.

“Within the fire and rescue service, we have suffered a disgraceful attack on firefighters’ pension rights, on public sector pay and have had imposed the worst cuts to our service in history.

“Trade unions must now fight to ensure that workers do not pay the price for any political or economic turmoil which follows the vote. The Westminster government need to give assurances that employment rights, safety rights, part-time workers’ rights and anti-discrimination rights will be protected for UK workers. They must also protect jobs that will be at risk as a result of economic turbulence following the vote.

“Any attempt to introduce an emergency budget that further attacks public services or seeks to increase taxes on working people, must be opposed by the trade union movement and the Labour Party.

“Trade unions must campaign on the basis of unity. We have to ensure that any debate around immigration does not scapegoat migrant workers, which includes thousands of people who deliver our NHS and work in our fire and rescue service. Where others want division, we must answer with unity and solidarity.

“To workers across the UK we say, whether you voted Leave or Remain, we must stand together in defence of jobs, our rights and public services.”

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Comments
  1. Phil Passen says:

    Excellent statement.

  2. Admin says:

    The FBU conference adopted a Remain position, but one of their regional secretaries was the national organiser of Trade Unionists Against the EU and campaigned hard for a Leave Vote. We’re currently in the process of organising an interview with him about issues facing British firefighters. The FBU is quite a political/progressive union. The NZ union is fairly progressive too – firefighters here, for instance, are especially good at showing solidarity with other workers. They are also a big part of the audience for this blog over the past several years.

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