Ill-health pensions RDS pensions Cuts fightback by yaofenjin


									The magazine of the Fire Brigades Union >                            January/February 2008

                    to LoCaL
           New pressure on England’s regional control project as
             Scotland rejects similar closure plans Page 10

                                                    RDS               Cuts fightback
                                                    pensions          The latest moves

   Ill-health pensions                              Equality battle
                                                    continues in
                                                                      to axe local fire
                                                                      services Page 6
   The fight goes on as Union wins
                                                    the courts
   important legal victory Page 12                  Page 14
general secretary’s comment

Four funerals
                  I write this        bulletin on this issue before

                                                                                                                                                      john harris/
                  shortly after       Christmas. Our campaign is
                  returning from      progressing well.
                  Warwickshire,           We have won our first legal
                  where I attended    battle without having to go to
                  the funerals        court! We have also managed to
                  of our four         win the vast majority of the fire
                  members killed      and rescue service in support of
in the incident at Atherstone-        our campaign.
on-Stour. This was the saddest            It is difficult to find anyone
week in the UK fire service for       who is willing to even attempt
many, many years.                     to justify the stance taken by
    Of course, it is the families     the pension officials at the
who have suffered the most. We        Department for Communities
can only hope that the many           and Local Government.
firefighters who attended the             Indeed, it is increasingly
funerals helped to provide some       apparent that the only people
comfort at such a difficult time.     who agree with the CLG stance
    I know that local people          are the CLG pension officials
were remarkably impressed that        themselves.
firefighters from all over the UK         Over the Christmas period
attended the funerals. Indeed the     we shall be continuing to lobby
solidarity between firefighters       ministers to give a favourable
was commented upon during             response to our demands. All we
the services.                         want, after all, is justice.
    Once again, I would like              Once again, I would urge
to thank our local officials in       everyone to take a couple of
Warwickshire and the West             minutes to send a letter or email
Midlands region who have been         to their MP to outline our case
working non-stop in dealing with      and urge them to support us.
various aspects of this tragedy.          We have made it very easy to
    We have been able to provide      do this and provided the materials
support and assistance to all         through the Union’s website
of our members who have               ( where we have
been interviewed as part of the       a pension’ campaign page.                                                            The Last Post is played
investigation. This is likely to be       I can assure you that this                                                     at the funeral service for
a long and difficult process for      political lobbying is having an                                                     Ian Reid at St Gregory’s
all concerned.                        effect. It has already prompted                                                   Church, Stratford on Avon
    The aim of the FBU in these       the launch of a parliamentary
circumstances is to ensure that       Early Day Motion (EDM) which         New Year, New Start,                 who want to be able to trample
lessons are learned so that the       will help to raise the profile of    New Challenges                       on the rights and conditions
safety of others can be improved.     our cause. Whatever you can do       Finally, may I take this             won over many years. Despite
That is just one of the tributes we   to help is of value and everyone     opportunity to wish all FBU          many attempts, they have not yet
can pay to Ian, John, Ashley and      can play a part.                     members and their families a         managed to shut us up or stop
Darren.                                   In early 2008 we shall be        happy New Year. We continue          us from fighting for the rights of
                                      starting the next round of this      to face challenging times in         firefighters – in all roles and on
Pension campaign continues            campaign. We shall be arranging      the fire and rescue service on       all duty systems. We get knocked
Elsewhere, the union’s campaign       meetings for members across the      issues such as cuts, jobs, pay and   down but we get up again!
for pensions justice continues.       UK and I would urge you to try       pensions. Those who oppose the           Happy New Year.
You will all have received a          to attend one in your locality.      Fire Brigades Union are those        matt Wrack

2  FireFighter January/February 2008
your letters
                                                                                                   This month

                                                                                                                                                        paul box
Justice for                           employer proposed in the future.
                                          To suggest also that these
firefighter                           immoral proposals could be
                                      made retrospective beggars
The recent issue of Firefighter
                                      belief! We must remember also,
                                      it comes within weeks of the
                                      tragedy in Warwickshire, where
                                                                            Meet Bob Smith,
magazine (October 2007) on            four firefighters gave their lives.   head of Fire Control
                                                                            for Avon
ill-health pensions should            W J langworth
make people think. I hope
some in power manage to
                                      oot member
                                      Kent                                  Regulars                              Features
get hold of a copy. I found
it – and a recent circular on         Fire investigation                    4 NEwS                                8 Good PRACTICE
                                                                                                                  How supportive are employers to
the matter from the General                                                 Deaths touch colleagues at home
Secretary – very interesting          dogs’ pivotal role                    and abroad,                           RDS firefighters on their payrolls?
                                                                            Still no action on firework ‘bombs’
but still cannot understand           I am saddened that the                                                      10 yES To LoCAL
why the Government should             anonymous author (Fifth               5 SoUNdING oFF                        CoNTRoLS
treat firefighters so. I’m 75 and     Column, Firefighter Nov/              Seizing the opportunities             Scotland’s decision should make
remember when the service was         Dec 2007). could not have             offered by devolution                 government think again, says Union
respected for the work it did.        highlighted their concerns in
    I wish you every success in       such a manner that focused            6 CUTS FIGhTBACk                      12 PENSIoNS
your fight for justice and the        purely on those issues and not to     A Firefighter round-up of how FBU     FIGhT GoES oN
                                                                            members in England and Northern
rights gained many years ago.         the detriment of the work that                                              First round to the FBU with
                                                                            Ireland are combatting cuts           an important legal victory
maurice scott                         fire investigation dogs do.
oot member and former FBu                 Fire investigation dogs play      16 whAT doES
area secretary, leeds                 a pivotal role in assisting fire
                                                                                                                  14 BATTLING FoR
                                                                            A Head of Fire Control do?
                                      investigators to determine the
Immoral proposals                     origin and cause of even the          18 yoUR wELFARE                       Seven years and counting in the
                                                                                                                  campaign for equal pensions
                                      most severe of fires in the form      New Year, new start
beggar belief                         of illegal fire setting.
                                                                            19 LEGAL BEAGLE
                                                                                                                  treatment for RDS firefighters

It was with some dismay, if not           With low morale, uncertainty      Contracts of employment,
disbelief, that I read the circular   and so many people in the             injury at work, asbestos
from the General Secretary            fire service feeling generally
regarding the proposed abuse of       undervalued, it’s good to have        20 dAy oFF
the Fireman’s Pension Scheme.         something, such as a fire investi-    Meet keen – and good –
    I served for 30 years in the
London Fire Brigade, and I
                                      gation dog, to be proud of, which
                                      will undoubtedly do some good.
                                                                            golfer Kenny Hankinson

                                                                            22 PUzzLES
know that every person I served       nikki Harvey
                                                                            Last year’s news is this                           PUZZLES          a romantic
with was well aware of the risks      Fire investigation dog handler                                                                             getaway
                                                                            issues prize quiz theme                Win this month’s
entailed in the job.                  Hertfordshire                                                                                              see p22
                                                                                                                   quiz, and you’ll get
    However, we all felt secure                                             23 STATIoN CAT                         enjoy a romantic
in the knowledge we were in           CoRReCtioNS: Two mistakes             Brings you the news they               getaway in a
‘caring’ employ, and in the event     crept into our coverage of            don’t want you to hear                 luxury four-star hotel
of sickness, injury or even death,    the Warwickshire tragedy
we would have the full financial      (Firefighter, November/               24 25-yEAR BAdGES
support of a good employer. This      December 2007) The article
applied also to our families.         referred to the death of Paul
    To suggest now that               Mallaghan of Stevenage Blue
firefighters, who through no          watch and said he died in March
fault of their own, and who can       2007. In fact, Paul died in the
no longer continue with their         line of duty in June 2007. In
profession, would be discharged       addition, a quote attributed to an
with neither pension or job is        FBU official referred to              Published by the Fire Brigades Union, Bradley House,
                                                                            68 Coombe Road, Kingston Upon Thames, KT2 7AE.
unacceptable and I trust that the     “the first time any firefighter
Union will make that clear in no      has died on duty in this brigade      Tel: 020 8541 1765. Fax: 020 8546 5187
uncertain terms! To step back         in the living memory of staff at      Design by Edition Periodicals 241-251 Ferndale Road
from this challenge would leave       Warwickshire”. It should have         London SW9 8BJ.
the door wide open to whatever        read “the first multiple death in     Printed by Southernprint Ltd, 17-21 Factory Road,
threat any unscrupulous               this brigade”.                        Upton Industrial Estate, Poole, Dorset BH16 5SN.

                                                                                                             January/February 2008 FireFighter 3
News                                  January/February 2008
                                      > Latest news
                                      > Sounding off

Deaths touch
                                                                                             waRwICkShIRE FIRE

                                                                                       BU officials joined the families, friends
                                                                                       and colleagues at the funerals of the

colleagues at
                                                                                       four Warwickshire firefighters who
                                                                                 died in the line of duty at the Atherstone-
                                                                                 on-Stour fire on November 2 2007. At the
                                                                                 four services held between November 30

home and abroad
                                                                                 and December 7 tribute was paid to Darren
                                                                                 Yates-Badley, John Averis, Ian Reid and
                                                                                 Ashley Stephens.
                                                                                     In a statement issued as the service and
                                                                                 the community prepared for the funeral of
                                                                                 Darren Yates-Badley on 7 December, FBU
                                                                                 General Secretary Matt Wrack said: “The
                                                                                 deaths of John, Ian, Ashley and Darren in
                                                                                 the line of duty has been a terrible blow to
                                                                                 their families and colleagues. They are a
                                                                                 great loss also to the communities which
                                                                                 they served with pride and conviction.
                                                                                     “Their deaths have touched our
                                                                                 colleagues in other fire services. Messages of
                                                                                 support have come from serving firefighters
                                                                                 and their unions from every continent.
                                                                                 Those firefighters may express their grief
                                                                                 and sadness in different languages and
                                                                                 with different gestures. What unites us is
                                                                                 knowledge of the risks and dangers inherent
                                                                                 in firefighting.
                                                                                     “These are the risks and dangers faced
                                                                                 by all firefighters in all communities and
                                                                                 all countries. Because of this, the deaths in
                                                                                 Warwickshire have resonated in fire stations
                                                                                 across the world.
                                                                                     “The families of John, Ian, Ashley and
                                                                                 Darren are united in their grief and sadness.
                                                                                 In the fire service we also think of ourselves
                                                                                 as a family and we are also united in that
                                                                                 grief and sadness.”
                                                                                     An inquest into the deaths opened in
                                                                                 Stratford November 20. After Warwickshire
                                                                                 coroner Michael Coker read statements
                                                                                 from all four families, paying tribute to their
                                                                                 loved ones, it was adjourned pending further
                                                                                 investigation. Mr Coker told the families
                                                                                 that they should be proud of their “gallant”
                                                                                 loved ones and said: “Firefighting in an
                                                                                 ordinary fire is a dangerous task and bravery
                                                                                 is required to go into the circumstances that
                                                                                 happen day by day. Every one of you can be
                                               john harris/

                                                                                 proud, as I know you are, of the young men
                                                                                 who are prepared to undertake that for the
                                                                                 people of Warwickshire.”

                                                                                 > Donations to: Warwickshire Firefighters
                                                                                 Families Fund; Bank: Lloyds Bank;
                                                                                 Sort Code: 30-00-02; A/C No.: 00581408

4 FireFighter January/February 2008
                                                                                                                                                 Sounding off!
Still no action on                                                                                                                                    toNY MaguiRe
                                                                                                                                              Regional Secretary Northern Ireland

firework ‘bombs’
                                                                                                                                                seizing the opportunities
                                                                                                                                                      of devolution
                                                                                                                                           If we are to pursue objectives on behalf of our
       maRLIE FaRm                                         already identified there              and the public are being put              members, FBU activists must campaign, lobby
                                                           has been no action from               needlessly at risk by this                and negotiate in the environment beyond

      he FBU renewed calls                                 government, the Health and            inaction. The current regime              the CFO’s office. It is not the CFO driving the
      for an overhaul of the                               Safety Executive or the other         is too complex and isn’t                  agenda on closing controls or stopping ill-
                                                                                                                                           health pensions. So we must focus energies
      regulations that cover                               regulatory agencies.                  working.
                                                                                                                                           where they will have the most impact. To
the import, manufacture,                                       “At present there is                  “We need one agency                   do this, we must develop an understanding
transport and storage of                                   no effective regulation               in overall control. The                   and knowledge of contemporary political
fireworks in the UK on                                     of fireworks standards,               regulating agencies need                  organisation, political and social change –
the first anniversary of the                               labelling, transportation or          to have a comprehensive                   and, where appropriate, the consequences of
deaths of two fire service                                 storage. Government and its           programme of inspection                   devolution and the opportunities it presents.
personnel in an explosion at                               agencies have done nothing            and enforcement to achieve                    With this objective, in November 2006
Marlie Farm in East Sussex                                 to properly address what we           an acceptable level of risk.”             Northern Ireland and Scotland FBU officials
on 3 December 2006.                                        have already learned about                                                      attended the Stormont Assembly as part
    The Union says the                                     firework-linked explosions            > For more on Marlie Farm and             of an “Engaging With Politics” course. The
                                                                                                 other health and safety matters,          training, delivered by Trevor Cave, Park Lane
investigation into the Marlie                              at incidents in the UK and
                                                                                                 visit           College, aims to help FBU officials consider
Farm explosion uncovered                                   other countries.                                                                the relevance of trade union engagement with
a number of other incidents                                    “Emergency services               healthsafety
                                                                                                                                           local, regional, national and European politics.
involving fireworks where                                                                                                                      The Stormont event created a perfect
                                peter MacdiarMid/getty iMages

lives had been lost and many                                                                                                               opportunity for FBU activists to engage
people injured.                                                                                                                            with a range of political representatives
    The Union warns that                                                                                                                   from Scotland and Northern Ireland, and
emergency services and                                                                                                                     to outline our concerns and vision for the
the public are being put in                                                                                                                future of the fire and rescue services in both
needless danger because                                                                                                                    Our activists left confident and
of confused regulation,
lack of monitoring and the
                                                                                                                                           better equipped to deal with
poor labelling of imported                                                                                                                 the issues facing the FBU
fireworks.                                                                                                                                 administrations. As a direct result of that
    FBU General Secretary                                                                                                                  event, the FBU succeeded in a campaign
Matt Wrack said: “In fires                                                                                                                 against the cuts proposals in Northern
containers packed with                                                                                                                     Ireland’s IRMP.
fireworks can cause the                                                                                                                        Next stop on the course, in November
same devastation as some                                                                                                                   2007, was Edinburgh, where Trevor drove
military bombs and artillery                                                                                                               a challenging schedule: the same officials
                                                                                                                                           working in small groups reviewed progress
                                                                                                                                           and developments since the Stormont event
    “Despite the dangers                                   Fire rages after the explosion at marlie Farm on December 3, 2006
                                                                                                                                           and considered how to exploit opportunities
                                                                                                                                           for moving the FBU agenda forward.

Save on your insurance needs
                                                                                                                                               Course activities culminated in a visit to
                                                                                                                                           the Scottish Parliament during First Minister’s
                                                                                                                                           Question Time. The event rounded off with an
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                                                                                                                                                January/February 2008 FireFighter 5
cuts fightback
Services under threat
in England and
northern Ireland
Cuts are threatening frontline fire services in rural
and metropolitan brigades across England, while
services also face the axe in Northern Ireland.
Firefighter details below some of the proposals that
will risk firefighter and public safety in the name of
budget savings.

                                                                                       against any frontline cuts and
                                                                         rob breMner

                                                                                                                                                                eMily Whitfield-Wicks
                                                                                       would urge the fire authority,
Cornwall fire crews have                                                               rather than wield the axe, to
welcomed a decision by                                                                 challenge government spending
the county’s executive to                                                              on regional controls at a time
recommend that Camborne Fire                                                           when money should be better
Station should remain crewed                                                           invested.”
24 hours a day. But they remain
deeply concerned at the lack        Somerset FBU Secretary said:                       avoN                                    The current system had
of detailed information given       “These cuts will clearly impact                    In Avon, fire authority chief        delivered a high class service
to them and have demanded           on our work and compromise                         councillor Terry Walker has          for the past 30 years, he said.
that councillors meet them to       our safety and public safety. We                   warned of budget cuts with           “The FBU has seen no evidence
discuss details of the proposals.   could lose nearly twice as many                    “devastating effects on our          that any of these proposals will
    Terry Nottle, Cornwall          frontline firefighter posts as                     communities.”                        maintain that service. FBU
FBU brigade secretary said:         under the old proposals. Those                        Tam McFarlane, FBU                members have been making this
“We welcome the news about          were overwhelmingly rejected                       Executive Council member for         clear in the consultation process
Camborne, but there is no reason    by the public and then by the                      the South West said: “It is very     and oppose any changes that are
why the threat should remain        fire authority.                                    clear that such cuts will have a     detrimental.”
over Falmouth. They have                “This is not just showing                      devastating effect on the service,
reprieved Camborne without the      utter contempt for public                          and we cannot stand by and let       HeRtFoRDSHiRe
promised detailed risk assess-      opinion. It is throwing it on the                  that happen. We will look at all     Hertfordshire fire crews are
ment, so why not do the same        ground and kicking it in the                       options including industrial         up in arms over a shortage of
for Falmouth? We came into this     teeth. The repeated promises                       action.”                             firefighters despite the county
campaign determined to save         from managers and councillors                                                           council agreeing in July 2006
24-hour immediate response          that there would be no cuts after                  eaSt SuSSex                          that this problem would be
cover at both stations. That        Devon and Somerset merged                          In East Sussex, the brigade          resolved.
resolve remains.”                   have been ripped to shreds.”                       is considering a change in               While engines fail to
                                                                                       shift patterns that would see        mobilise and crews attend
 DevoN aND SoMeRSet                 DoRSet                                             36 firefighters removed from         incidents short of personnel,
Devon and Somerset FBU is           In Dorset, chief fire officer                      the frontline or fewer pumps         the council has begun to take
warning that a new and more         Darran Gunter has warned of                        available for call out, among a      more firefighters off frontline
severe cuts package will test the   budget cuts that will directly and                 number of options.                   duties – something that politi-
limits of safe working for fire     adversely affect the service.                          Brigade secretary Steve          cians agreed not to do following
crews. As many as 66 frontline          “The options for these cuts                    Huggins said the FBU was             industrial action last year.
firefighter posts could be lost.    may include the number of                          concerned about the options of           Local firefighter’s concerns
The authority put the proposals     fire engines or possibly closing                   variable crewing and annual-         are also growing over the
out to consultation for an          stations throughout Dorset.”                       ised hours “which will reduce        shortage of experienced
eight-week period straddling            Dorset brigade secretary                       frontline crews and conse-           personnel available on fire
Christmas and New Year.             Karen Adams said: “The FBU in                      quently the service we provide       engines as disillusioned staff
    Trevor French, Devon and        Dorset will vigorously campaign                    and the safety of the public”.       have left.

6 FireFighter January/February 2008
                                                                         andreW parsons/pa photos
                                                                                                    one a week – will get a reduced          NoRtHeRN iRelaND
                                                                                                        The FBU has warned that              SHoRtFall iN
                                                                                                                                            > For the latest on Lancashire see
                                                                                                    the public and firefighters will         iNveStMeNt Will
                                                                                                                                            Working For You, page 17, and on
                                                                                                    be put at risk by delays of even a       Hit StaNDaRDS
                                                                                                                                            Merseyside, Station Cat, page 24.
                                                                                                    few minutes which would allow            Twenty-six Northern Ireland
                                                                                                    small fires to develop into much         fire stations are no longer fit
                                                                                                    larger ones.                             for purpose and badly needed
                                                                                                        Peter Taylor, FBU GMC                investment in them and the
                                                                                                    brigade secretary, said: “The            emergency fire control room
                                                                                                    key is reducing the number of            is now threatened thanks to a
                                                                                                    false alarms, not opting for a           shortfall in funding, said the
                                                                                                    much reduced response to all             brigade.
                                                                                                                                                 About £45 million is needed
                                                                                                    automatic alarms.
                                                                                                                                             over the next three years to
                                                                                                        “Under the new policy                maintain standards, but it is
                                                                                                    automatic alarms will be                 only scheduled to get £12m.
                                                                                                    checked out by non-fire-service          Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue
                                                                                                    personnel and some of these are          Service (NIFRS) has written
                                                                                                    likely to be based many, many            to Northern Ireland assembly
                                                                                                    miles from the site, meaning a           members over its concerns
                                                                                                    very long delay before they can          about money allocation in the
                                                                                                    get to the premises.                     executive’s draft budget.
                                                                                                                                                 Bill Gillespie, chairman
                                                                                                        “It is only at that stage – after
                                                                                                                                             of the NIFRS board, said the
    Brigade secretary Tony Smith                                                                    a long delay – that the Greater
                                                                         rob breMner

                                                                                                                                             allocation would “barely
said crews were willing to risk                                                                     Manchester Fire Service says it          replace our fire appliances
their lives every day to save                                                                       will respond. All it will take is        and equipment, never mind
others, “but feel they are being                                                                    the loss of one medium-sized             look towards investment
let down by senior managers                                                                         building and the savings of £2           in fire stations and our 999
and the council. Firefighters                                                                       million to the fire service will         command and control system.
across the county are extremely                                                                     have gone up in smoke.”                  Undoubtedly, very difficult
angry that our employers have                                                                                                                decisions will have to be made
reneged on their agreement            vehicles.”                                                    CHeSHiRe                                 in relation to the provision of
                                                                                                                                             emergency cover for the people
that saw an end to our indus-                                                                       In Cheshire, firefighters are
                                      HaMPSHiRe                                                                                              of Northern Ireland.”
trial action in 2006. We are                                                                        angry at plans to replace their              The service may have to
angry that our safety is being        In Hampshire, the FBU                                         full-size 999 vehicle with two           consider removing some
jeopardised.”                         continues to campaign against                                 cheaper, mini-fire engines that          wholetime firefighters from
                                      the closure of Copnor fire                                    carry fewer firefighters, half the       Ballymena, Lisburn, Lurgan,
KeNt                                  station in Portsmouth, which,                                 water of a normal fire engine            Bangor and Newry, he said.
Kent FBU has expressed                among other cuts, would leave                                 and shorter ladders.                         Jim Barbour, FBU Executive
concerns over the impact on           central Portsmouth without any                                    The brigade originally               Council member, Northern
firefighter and public safety of      fire appliance. The proposals                                 bought the targeted response             Ireland, said this was an
fire service plans to provide         would also see the moving of                                  vehicles (TRVs) to deal with             “extremely grave” situation.
                                                                                                                                             “Up to 26 fire stations are being
height vehicle cover to anywhere      an appliance from Redbridge                                   small rubbish fires, but now
                                                                                                                                             jeopardised. Lives will be put at
in Kent in a 30-minute                to St Mary in Southampton;                                    their role is expanding.                 risk. Our existing control centre
benchmark standard.                   the relocation of Winchester                                      A particular concern is              will only cost £2.5 million to
    It said the content of the plan   Fire Station and the redevelop-                               the planned use of TRVs to               upgrade, a drop in the ocean
was misleading to members of          ment of Cosham Fire Station in                                deal with property fires. Dave           compared to the money that
the public who were expected to       Portsmouth.                                                   Williams, chair of Cheshire              is being thrown away on
respond by 18 January.                    The IRMP was out for                                      FBU, said the smaller tanks on           Westminster’s totally flawed
    Harry Sawyer, FBU Secretary       consultation until 31 December                                the TRVs meant there could be            project for regional controls.
for Kent, said: “We agree that        2007 and Hampshire fire and                                   insufficient water to cool down a            “Scottish politicians have
a height vehicle should be            rescue authority was due to                                   significant blaze.                       had the good sense to reject
                                                                                                                                             regional controls and have
available to any part of Kent for     make a decision on 13 February.                                   He suspected the long-term
                                                                                                                                             chosen instead to invest
any purpose – whether that is                                                                       intention was to use the TRVs to         £50 million in improving the
for rescues or any other reason       gReateR MaNCHeSteR                                            cover urban areas like Chester,          resilience of their emergency
– within a maximum of 30              In Greater Manchester, the                                    Ellesmere Port and Runcorn               fire controls.
minutes.                              FBU has slammed a new policy                                  where most small fires occur.                “It is unacceptable that the
    “But under these misleading       that will limit the fire service                                  A sustained FBU campaign             people of Northern Ireland
plans the proposal would be           response to automatic fire                                    forced the service to take all           should see the high standards
unachievable unless the height        alarms. The GMC’s own figures                                 its TRVs off the run for a time,         of public safety currently
vehicles are crewed 24/7. KFRS        show that at least 60 genuine                                 including the Chester-based              provided by the fire service
has understated the usage and         fires on commercial and                                       TRV, although one has now                undermined because of these
                                                                                                                                             budget-driven cuts.”
importance of these frontline         business premises – more than                                 begun working out of Nantwich.

                                                                                                                                      January/February 2008 FireFighter 7
DealIng WItH tHe Day JoB

How do full-
time employers
approach RDS
firefighters on
their payroll?
Alerter reports

                   supportive: gwyn
                        Williams, rDs
                     firefighter at his
                         workplace at
              Hotpoint/Indesit, with
             Will Pritchard, a Health
             and safety officer, who
               was his line manager

 good pra
                       for a long time

           here are many challenges for retained     to calls. The perception is that they will be           “There’s quite a few times I’ve been out all
           firefighters but one of the hardest is    away all day. The reality is that it will be only   night and seen fatalities and we come back to
           undoubtedly the constant tension          an hour or so and often will be less. A lot of      the station and we talk about it and I haven’t
           between the day job and the other         the resistance is down to the ignorance of          gone into work and my boss understands.
           job of being a firefighter. In the same   employers of the benefits of having firefighters        “One of the managers has a son who’s
way that the families of RDS firefighters are        on their staff.”                                    a retained firefighter at another station and
alternately proud and understanding – while             Yet there are exceptions. 54-year-old            he’s been very good with me. Recently the
sometimes feeling neglected – employers, too,        Gwyn Williams, from Colwyn Bay station, is          company have been after me to join their own
can he hesitant about employing someone              a driver. His day job is making metal drums         fire crew, which makes sure everyone is out of
who can be whisked away at a moment’s notice         for washing machines. He says his employer,         the building if the fire alarm goes off.”
with no fixed time of return.                        the multinational company Hotpoint/Indesit,             Will Pritchard, a Health and Safety Officer
    It’s a growing concern for retained fire-        has been brilliant with him.                        for Hotpoint/Indesit, who for a long time
fighters as society changes and employers                                                                was Gwyn’s line manager, could not be more
become less local and more global in their           everyone was quite receptive                        supportive. “We understand we have a respon-
priorities.                                          “I came to the service late,” he says. “I was       sibility to the community. You never know
    Pete Preston, Secretary of the FBU National      46 when I joined and I’ve been working for          when you’re going to need the fire service,
Retained Committee, says employers often             Hotpoint for over 22 years now. I talked to         so we give the retained firefighters great
think that when a retained firefighter goes on       them before I started the training and I think      respect. It’s about team working. We respect
a shout he or she will be gone for hours.            that, because they knew me well, they were          what Gwyn does and I got more out of him
    “Overall there’s a general reluctance to         fine with it. I went to my immediate boss and       at work.”
release employees who are retained to respond        everyone was quite receptive to the idea.               Gwyn, too, acknowledges that being a fire-

8 Firefighter January/February 2008
                                                                                                                         production store supervisor at Morgan, says:

                                                                                                       Colin McPherson
                                                                                                                         “We don’t mind about the time – one day it
                                                                                                                         could be you needing help. It’s a community
                                                                                                                         thing. Morgan don’t have to do it, but they do.
                                                                                                                         Everyone appreciates that one day they may
                                                                                                                         have to call on the fire service.”
                                                                                                                            But not everyone is quite so lucky. Geoff
                                                                                                                         Lennon, a facilities officer for an outdoor
                                                                                                                         education centre run by Conwy County
                                                                                                                         Borough Council in Wales, is allowed to go
                                                                                                                         on shouts, but with a totally different modus

                                                                                                                         Constant and difficult balance
                                                                                                                         He’s been a retained firefighter for over 20
                                                                                                                         years and worked for the same employer all
                                                                                                                         that time. His experience is slightly different.
                                                                                                                         “It’s a constant and difficult balance, juggling
                                                                                                                         two jobs and a family and my line manager is
                                                                                                                         pretty tolerant.
                                                                                                                             “The council releases employees for fire
                                                                                                                         calls, however it never comes up in conver-
                                                                                                                         sation. I just get on with it. My line manager
                                                                                                                         trusts me to be sensible, as long as it doesn’t
                                                                                                                         interfere with the running of the centre.”
                                                                                                                             Geoff is obviously highly trusted. But
                                                                                                                         within the council there is little or no discus-
                                                                                                                         sion of his role, as he fears others may become
                                                                                                                         resentful of the time he has away from his job.
                                                                                                                         He says everything is fine – but no one talks
                                                                                                                         about what he does. “Some of my colleagues
                                                                                                                         take an interest in what I do but it’s a very

                                                                                                                         delicate balance and my role outside my job
                                                                                                                         goes almost unregistered in many ways.”
                                                                                                                         Consequently, he asked Firefighter not to talk
                                                                                                                         to his line manager.
                                                                                                                             Yet, in spite of some positive stories of aware
                                                                                                                         and considerate employers, Pete Preston says
                                                                                                                         the last 30 years have seen a marked decline in
                                                                                                                         the number of employers willing to release fire-
                                                                                                                         fighters to help their community. But he says
                                                                                                                         that if the positive benefits can be explained,
                                                                                                                         employers might be more receptive.
fighter has developed him as human being:           ago,” he says. “I told them at the interview and                         “Employers don’t appreciate the advantages
“I feel more confident now I’m a firefighter.       asked if it was a problem and they said no.                          of having firefighters on the staff, so we need
It’s developed me as a person. My family have       It was a major factor for me. I wouldn’t have                        to communicate with them. Shropshire fire
noticed the difference.”                            moved to Morgan without that attitude.                               service are putting up statistics on their website
                                                        “They asked questions about how long I’d                         revealing the amount of time, on average, a
equally harmonious                                  be out on a shout and about the number of                            retained firefighter is away from their job. This
Nick Robinson, 36, based at Malvern station in      brush fires we have in the summer here. But                          is good as it is exploding myths.
Worcestershire has had an equally harmonious        they’ve got no problems with it. Lots of guys at
relationship with his employer, Morgan, the         my station get docked time but I don’t. I’m one                      engage with employers
family-owned iconic UK car manufacturer.            of the fortunate ones.”                                              “We need to engage with local employers,
   “It was a factor when I took the job six years       Nick’s immediate boss, Stuart Webb, the                          particularly those with variable shift patterns.
                                                                                                                         Centralisation of labour and its inevitable
                                    Good PRACTICE PoINTS
                                                                                                                         insensitivity to local issues and people, is a
 • good communication is key to getting a good employer                                                                  feature of our age and presents very real chal-
 • Flexibility on both sides is the key to building a good relationship                                                  lenges for retained firefighters, the fire service
 • Work colleagues can provide valuable support in getting the message across                                            and the FBU.
 • myths about the number of hours spent on shouts should be demystified                                                     “A national campaign – like the Territorial
 • retained firefighters bring unseen benefits to any organisation                                                       Army had – to highlight the vital role of the
 • employers need to be made aware of their role in the community                                                        RDS firefighter would help raise the public
                                                                                                                         awareness and educate potentially supportive
 • Fire stations’ work in the community can help explain the role of the rDs firefighter
                                                                                                                         full-time employers.”

                                                                                                                               January/February 2008 Firefighter 9
FIre controls

Local controls:
says yes!
The Union has called for Whitehall to urgently re-think 
plans to close all 46 emergency fire controls in England 
and move to one control for each region, following 
an announcement that plans to reduce the number of 
emergency fire controls in Scotland have been halted  

             cotland will now get all the benefits of an            ‘the view of a           Government was to publish for consultation with stake-
             enhanced digital radio system, interoperability         substantial             holders in the New Year what it regards as a minimum
                                                                     majority of those
             between emergency fire controls and other               who actually run
                                                                                             standard of resilience for emergency control rooms. “We will
             emergency services, modern data terminals               the control rooms       want to discuss this with stakeholders and reach a consensus
             in fire appliances and real time updates of the        – councillors, chief     on what needs to be done across Scotland to ensure that this
exact position of vehicles much cheaper and much faster              Fire officers and       standard is reached,” he said.
than England. In England the regional control project                other staff – is that       The Scottish Executive is to invest over £50 million in
                                                                     we should stick
– FireControl – is now running years late, costs are ten             with the status quo.    the next three years to equip fire and rescue services with a
times the original estimate of £100 million and it is placing       this view is also        “state of the art” digital incident communications system.
enormous burdens on the fire service.                                shared by the Fire      This programme would ensure Scotland has the resilience
   The decision in Scotland comes close to three and a half          Brigades union.’        and flexibility at both a national and a local level to cope
                                                                     scotland’s Justice
years after the Scottish Executive published in July 2004 the        secretary Kenny
                                                                                             with everything from a terror attack or a Stockline, to local-
Mott MacDonald report on the review of fire service control          macaskill               ised flooding and fire prevention visits, added Minister for
rooms in Scotland. This recommended closing eight local                                      Community Safety Fergus Ewing.
emergency fore control rooms and replacing them with as             ‘good government             “Good government is about preparing the country as
few as one regional control.                                         is also about           best we can for the range of threats we face – from climate
                                                                     listening and
   In announcing the decision in December, Scotland’s Justice        trusting those          change to terrorism. But good government is also about
Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “The view of a substantial           closest to the          listening and trusting those closest to the frontline – and
majority of those who actually run the control rooms –               frontline.’             also about making decisions. This issue has been clouded in
Councillors, Chief Fire Officers and other staff – is that we        minister for            uncertainty for too long,” he said.
                                                                     community safety
should stick with the status quo. This view is also shared by the    Fergus ewing
                                                                                                 In additional comments to the local press, Mr Ewing, who
Fire Brigades Union. Cabinet has therefore agreed with my                                    represents Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber, expressed
conclusion that we will not be taking any action centrally to       ‘the scottish            “particular concern” that the lengthy decision process
reduce the number of emergency fire control rooms.”                  government’s            caused control staff to “fear for their jobs”, adding: “The staff
   “However events in recent years – including the Glasgow           decision to invest      are extremely skilled in what they do. There is also a strong
                                                                     rather than close is
Airport incident, the flooding in the Borders and England            a welcome one.’         argument about local knowledge, not just of small places and
over the summer, and the warnings by the new Chief                   Keith Brown, an         Gaelic names but also an in-depth knowledge of city streets.
Constable of Strathclyde about the terrorist threat – have           msP for stirling        The argument that there was a substantial saving to be made
highlighted the requirement for enhanced emergency fire              (ochil)                 from reducing the number of control rooms is not clear.”
control room resilience. This is an issue which national and                                     Keith Brown, an MSP for Stirling (Ochil), in welcoming
local government and the FBU and other staff representa-                                     the rejection of regional control plans in Scotland, described
tives need to consider together.”                                                            the plans in England as a “false economy”, adding:
   Minister MacAskill announced that the Scottish                                                “It is now possible for fire boards and control rooms

10 FireFighter January/February 2008
                                                                                                                                                paul box

to move forward and ensure they are delivering the best          ‘By keeping our        these figures to CLG and the cost is likely to be in the region
possible service to people locally. The Scottish Government’s     control local we      of another £80 million to £100 million nationally.
                                                                  can provide the
decision to invest rather than close is a welcome one and I                                 In addition there are also more delays – although not
                                                                  best service to the
hope it will win support across the board.”                       community’            yet announced – because of problems synchronising the
    The news was welcomed by emergency fire control staff         susan Bruce,          FireLink and FireControl projects. The Government is now
in Scotland. Said Susan Bruce, from Tayside control: “We are     tayside control        paying rent on some of the RCC buildings that have now
all extremely pleased with the news. By keeping our control                             been completed and handed over and more delay means
                                                                 ‘this was a long
local we can provide the best fire and rescue service to the      an arduous            paying rent on these on top of the cost of existing controls.
community in Tayside.”                                            campaign. thanks          At this stage, even on the Government’s dodgy figures,
    Tayside colleague Libby Logan, who is also control staff      to the public,        there is no chance of FireControl making any savings at all
rep for Scotland, said: “We have succeeded in stopping            FBu officials and     against the money being spent on it. The talk among those
                                                                  members for
the closure of our existing control rooms. This was a long                              involved in the highest levels of the FireLink and FireControl
                                                                  their tremendous
and arduous campaign. I’d like to thank the public, FBU           support.’             Project is of yet more costs and “reality adjustments”, the
officials and firefighter and control staff members for their     libby logan,          latest projectspeak for delays.
tremendous support. This is the best solution for resilience      scotland control          FBU General secretary Matt Wrack said: “Scotland has
in Scotland. With our future secure, we can now go forward        rep                   looked into the abyss and quite rightly stepped back. They
and build on our success.”                                       ‘this decision is a    will now get a better and more resilient system which is much
    FBU Scotland regional secretary Ken Ross, described the       victory for common    cheaper and quicker than that planned for England. It makes
Scottish Executive’s decision as a “victory for common sense      sense and public      a real difference when Government takes the time to engage
and public safety”, adding: “Local communities need local         safety.’              with frontline staff and the fire service before key decisions
                                                                  Kenny ross,
emergency fire control rooms staffed by professionals who                               are made. Whitehall made poor decisions in the face of over-
                                                                  regional secretary,
have experience, technical expertise and local knowledge.”        FBu scotland          whelming opposition within the fire service at the time.”
    The decision in Scotland came as it was revealed that                               The General Secretary blamed Whitehall’s “obsession” with
there was even greater confusion over what the Government        ‘scotland has          a regionalised structure in England for “bleeding the fire
knows about the spiralling costs of England’s FireControl         looked into the       service dry of money and personnel” and said FireControl
                                                                  abyss and quite
Project. Answering a parliamentary question on 11                 rightly stepped       was an example of public money being wasted on another
December, fire minister Parmjit Dhanda said fire authori-         back.’                IT project of “dubious benefit” and “which diverts money
ties had not produced “meaningful estimates” of what are          matt Wrack,           from frontline services.”
called “convergence costs”.                                       general secretary         He added: “Scotland has understood those issues,
    This is the technical name for some of the critical work                            Whitehall has not. It is not technology and buildings which
involved in paving the way to regional controls and which is                            gives us the resilience to deal with major incidents. It is
not included in the business case. “Meaningful” or not, many                            professional fire crews and emergency control staff which
fire authorities have told Firefighter that they have provided                          give us that strength and we have never failed the public.”

                                                                                                            January/February 2008 FireFighter 11
            goes on                            the union has won an important legal victory
                                               in its battle for justice for firefighter pensions,
                                               but continues to campaign on its key demand
                                               for the government to change its highly
                                               detrimental guidance on ill-health pensions

Firefighters – here at a recent
warehouse fire – may be forced
to question the risks they
take because of the change in
ill-health pensions guidance

    n an important victory in the campaign                                                        the requirements of the pension scheme.
    for Justice for Firefighter Pensions, an                                                         The lawyers for the CLG and the Board of
    FBU-backed judicial review of the move                                                        Referees conceded the FBU’s case on the first
    to terminate the ill-health pension of                                                        point, fully vindicating the stance taken by the
    three London firefighters has resulted                                                        three members and the FBU on this issue and
in a decision that should see their pensions                                                      showing that the stance taken on this issue by
restored. The legal case, launched in the                                                         the CLG, the Board of Referees and LFEPA
autumn, was based broadly around three         the process breached natural justice; that the     was incorrect. “But,” warns FBU General
issues: That the three had not been told in    Board of Referees exceeded their powers in         Secretary Matt Wrack, “this does not end
advance that their appeal hearings would       considering an issue which was not submitted       the case. Even the three members concerned
include an issue that could result in their    to them; that the guidance from CLG in             may still face the same issue again depending
pensions being stopped and that therefore      relation to ill-health pensions does not reflect   upon other decisions. Most importantly, the

12 FireFighter January/February 2008
                                                                                                                                       JustIce For FIreFIgHter PensIons

                                 guidance issued by CLG remains in place and         and that if you are injured on duty, and if there    support and a number have written back
daniel berehulak/ getty iMages

                                 this is the fundamental problem.”                   wasn’t work for you to do, then you should           expressing concern at the CLG guidance
                                     And nobody knows this better than Mark          get a pension. But the decision wasn’t his any       and broad support for the stance taken by
                                 Padgett, a retained duty system (RDS) fire-         more. He said his hands were tied because of         the Union. Likewise, a number of fire and
                                 fighter at Edwinstowe fire station, North           the new Government guidance on ill-health            rescue service politicians have raised their
                                 Nottinghamshire. Mark was assaulted at              pensions.”                                           concerns with CLG and with the Minister,
                                 an incident by a member of the public that              Says General Secretary Matt Wrack: “Our          John Healey.
                                 resulted in him losing his main employment,         message is clear: those who work in the fire             In parallel with the political campaign,
                                 and that now looks set to lose him his fire         service are expected to attend incidents other       branches have been meeting across the
                                 service job and ill-health pension.                 workers would consider a hazard. It defies           country to consider other forms of pressure
                                     Nottinghamshire fire and rescue service         belief that fire crews will be ordered into a        that can be brought to bear and there is a
                                 has indicated to Mark that he is likely to be       fire with the knowledge that if they are badly       growing sense among FBU members that
                                 sacked from the Service after a medical said        injured in doing so they will be sacked.”            national strike action may be necessary.
                                 he was too disabled to continue working as              “RDS firefighters also face the loss of their        In Hertfordshire, for example, firefighters
                                 a firefighter and because it couldn’t find him      primary employment if injured at fire service        say that they will take industrial action should
                                 another role to perform. Mark, who suffered         incidents. They would also lose out on their         any Herts firefighter have their ill-health
                                 a serious shoulder injury, was also told that       entitlement to be paid illness and injury awards     pension benefits removed. And this amid
                                 he would not receive the pension to which he        in line with wholetime firefighters. It is unac-     shortages of frontline staff that they believe
                                 was entitled because in September 2006, the         ceptable to treat any FBU member in this way         will mean they are more likely to get injured.
                                 Government suddenly issued new guidance.            irrespective of duty system, rank or role.”              Herts FBU Secretary Tony Smith says: “We
                                     Says Mark:                                          The Union has written to and met with            are angry that if we get injured our employers
                                     “After ten years service, and after being       CLG officials and directly with Ministers.           will force us to leave the Service without a
                                 injured because I was attacked on duty, the         At these meetings the FBU has outlined our           pension. This job is becoming increasingly
                                 brigade is going to sack me. What kind of           position and expressed the anger and disgust         dangerous and the number of serious inci-
                                 message does that send to other RDS fire-           that the effective end of ill-health pensions        dents we attend is on the increase. Last year,
                                 fighters? We do a good job and we are the fire      in the Service has provoked among FBU                our employers said they would work with us
                                 service in many areas. Employers are strug-         members. The Union’s Parliamentary Group             to improve the Service but their words are
                                 gling to find enough RDS firefighters already.      also met with Fire Minister Parmjit Dhanda           ringing hollow. Instead they continue to erode
                                     “Then they say if you get injured on duty       and raised our concerns.                             the frontline emergency response service we
                                 because of an accident or deliberate acts of            Minister John Healey MP has written back         can offer to the public and now it seems that
                                 violence against us – and we all know attacks       to General Secretary Matt Wrack saying he has        they will not look after us if we get injured in
                                 on fire crews are now a sad fact of life – you                                                           the line of duty.”
                                 will lose your job. Who’s going to join the            TakE a mInUTE To PRoTECT yoURSELF                     In Norfolk, meanwhile, the FBU has said
                                 Service as a RDS firefighter if that’s the treat-     let your mP know just how angry you are            FBU members in the brigade may be forced to
                                 ment you’re going to get. ”                           about the sudden change in the guidance            question the risks they take in light of the new
                                     “As a result of the injury sustained while        in september 2006. let your mP know you            Government guidance on ill-health pensions.
                                 on duty, I’m already on light duties, earning         want the 2006 guidance returned to the             Norfolk FBU chair Peter Graves, said:
                                 the station average – a pay cut. The injury also      original guidance set out in 2004. go to the           “It is highly regarded that firefighters will
                                                                                       FBu website – – click on
                                 meant I lost my full-time employment down                                                                push themselves to the limits to save a life
                                                                                       the Justice for Firefighters or lobby your
                                 the pit. And then the brigade tell me they’re         mP links and email your mP. there is a             whether it is at a fire or at a road traffic colli-
                                 going to leave me without a penny.                    standard letter that you can use if you wish       sion. Unfortunately we are now being forced
                                     “I and many of my colleagues say we don’t         that asks your mP to make representations          to question our actions before committing
                                 do it for the money. We love the job, protecting      to John Healey. It contains a briefing on the      ourselves into what could be a harmful or
                                 our local community. But of course at the end         issue. For further information visit the FBu       dangerous environment.”
                                 of the day, the money we earn as retained fire-       website.                                               FBU Norfolk has already met with chief
                                 fighters does help pay our bills.                                                                        fire officer Richard Elliott to raise its concerns,
                                     “I have a wife and an 8-year old son. I have                                                         but believes his hands are tied by the govern-
                                 a mortgage. The loss of my income will be a           It is unacceptable to treat                        ment guidelines.
                                 massive blow. Sometimes I can’t see the light         any FBU member in this                                 Officers are also considering the impli-
                                 at the end of the tunnel. It’s not right.”                                                               cations of the Government guidance on ill-
                                     Mark says the whole station has been in a         way irrespective of duty                           health pensions. Says FBU Assistant General
                                 state of shock since the brigade informed him                                                            Secretary Andy Dark:
                                 he’d be left without a job or a pension.              system, rank or role                                   “With the revised CLG guidance the
                                     “My watch manager still can’t believe it.                                                            hazard remains the same, but the risk has just
                                 He is devastated. He feels he’s lied to me and      “asked for an examination to be made of the          increased. The risk now is of no job and no
                                 all of us on the station. He told us that even if   current arrangements, including the implica-         pension.
                                 we didn’t pay into a pension, we were covered       tions for Firefighters and employers. This will,         “Just how reasonable is it for officers to
                                 if we were injured. We’d be looked after. Of        of course, take into account the points that the     be expected to ask someone to take a risk,
                                 course he’s not to blame. He told us that in        FBU have made”.                                      the outcome of which may cost them their
                                 good faith. That was the situation until the            The Union is urging all FBU members              income, their job, their home, their family?
                                 Government changed its guidance on ill-             to ensure that this examination reaches the          Just how reasonable is it for a fire and rescue
                                 health pensions.”                                   right conclusion by writing to their MPs to          authority to expect its personnel to do this?
                                     The chief fire officer visited Mark’s fire      put pressure on the Government to amend its              “And just how reasonable is it for the fire
                                 station and said if he could do something           guidance on ill-health pensions (see above).         and rescue authority to expect officers to
                                 about it, he would. “He said he couldn’t find           Since the launch of this campaign, the           instruct personnel to expose themselves to
                                 alternative jobs for people injured on duty         Union has written to every CFO seeking               that risk?”

                                                                                                                                               January/February 2008 FireFighter 13
rDs PensIons case

Equality battle cont
The FBU-backed case for equal treatment returned 
to the Employment Tribunal as the employers 
continued to bankroll the legal argument that 
supports RDS firefighters’ second-class status

          he FBU’s seven-year battle       station commanders at the test case
          in the courts to end discrimi-   stations, Ashford, Marden, Bracknell
          nation against firefighters      and Wokingham. Evidence was also
          working the retained duty        presented by FBU officials Mr Lincoln
          system (RDS) continues after     Ball and Mr Harry Sawyer and also by
an Employment Tribunal hearing took        individual RDS and wholetime fire-
place in Croydon, South London, in         fighters.
November.                                     In their submission to the tribunal,
    The move follows a landmark legal      the CLG and employers didn’t dispute
judgment by the House of Lords on 1        that regardless of duty system fire-
March 2006 in favour of the Union.         fighters do “essentially the same work
    The tribunal originally considered     on the fire ground” and that this activity
12 test cases from a total of 12,000 in    was “very important”. But, pointing to
2000 on behalf of RDS firefighters         community fire safety work, argued
across the UK. Any judgment applies        that “the differences in the work the
to all 12,000 FBU RDS members in           retained and whole-time fire-fighters
all fire brigades in Scotland, Wales,
Northern Ireland and England.               ‘It is hypocritical
    The tribunal’s purpose was to deter-
mine whether RDS firefighters do the
                                            for employers
same or broadly similar work as their       to complain of a
whole-time colleagues and whether
the employers and the Secretary of          shortage of RDS
State are able to justify the difference
in treatment of RDS firefighters in
                                            firefighters while
relation to the exclusion from access to    denying them
the FPS, additional pay for additional
responsibilities and sick pay.              employment rights that
    The Union, represented by Robin         would help tackle this’
Allen QC and Martin Seaward at the
tribunal, and by Thompsons, has been       were actually engaged in [was] of such
battling this case against the employers   importance to prevent their work being
and the Government for seven years.        regarded overall as the same or broadly
    The national fire service employers    similar.”
are financing the legal defence by Royal       Says Richard Ar thur, f rom
Berkshire and Kent fire brigades, and      Thompsons Solicitors:
backing their argument that RDS fire-          “The central issue is whether, as at
fighters don’t do the same or broadly      December 2000 when the Tribunal
similar work to their wholetime work       claims were lodged, the work of
colleagues, supporting the continued       retained and wholetime firefighters
discrimination between RDS and             was the same or broadly similar.
wholetime. As co-defendant in the              “Nobody is denying the impor-
case, the department for Communities       tance of community fire safety and fire
and Local Government is also opposing      prevention work. But the fact of the
equal treatment of RDS firefighters.       matter is that, in the test brigades and
    Over four days, the Union’s legal      nationwide, CFS was in its infancy in
team presented further evidence to         2000, and did not form a major part
                                                                                        getty iMages

demand equal treatment for RDS             of the working time of whole-time or
firefighters on pensions and sick pay.     retained fire-fighters. Fire Certificate
Evidence was called from the four          and inspection work, certainly in the

14 FireFighter January/February 2008
inues in the courts
         test brigades, was done by specialist
         officers and fire safety teams, not by
                                                       in the courts.
                                                           “It is frankly hypocritical for
         regular wholetime firefighters.               employers to complain of a shortage
             “Any difference between the work          of retained firefighters when they are
         of wholetime and retained firefighters        denying them the very employment
         was not of sufficient significance to         rights that would help tackle this short-
         undermine the inevitable conclusion           fall.
         that their work was the same or broadly             “The FBU is the only organisation
         similar.”                                     that has been working for equal treat-
             Secretary to the National Retained        ment for RDS firefighters. We have
         Committee, Pete Preston, who                  been fighting this case for seven years
         attended the Employment Tribunal in           and we will continue to fight for as long
         November, said:                               as it takes to achieve justice for RDS
             “All those who gave evidence –            firefighters.”
         from frontline firefighters to senior             FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack
         managers - did extremely well in what         added: “It is absolutely disgraceful that
         is a highly complex legal case. They          still today thousands of RDS firefighters
         faced tough cross-examination. But            should be facing discrimination.
         they were meticulously prepared and               “This has no place in the modern
         the quality of evidence provided was          fire service and the FBU intends to
         very high.                                    bring it to an end. The FBU is confident
             “Professional RDS firefighters are        we have a strong legal case and we are
         the backbone of the fire and rescue           determined to win.”
         service in many parts of the country.             There was insufficient time before
         Yet employers continue to support             the Employment Tribunal for closing
         their second class status. This legal case    submissions to be heard and so
         is about changing that.”                      detailed witness submissions are now
             Sean Starbuck, national officer           being produced by the union’s legal
         responsible for RDS firefighters, said:       team and the Tribunal will hear those
             “Whatever employers say in public,        final submissions in January.
         they are bankrolling old-fashioned                A decision from the Employment
         discrimination against RDS firefighters       Tribunal is expected in the Spring.

          December 2000 Claims launched in the wake of the introduction of the Part
            Time Workers Regulations that calls for equal treatment for part-time workers.
          November 2001 Employment Tribunal (ET) hears over nine days FBU-backed
            test case for equal pension and sick pay rights for firefighters working the
            retained duty system.
          July 2002 ET dismisses this claim; FBU decides to appeal.
          July 2004 Court of Appeal accepts the employers’ arguments that RDS
            firefighters did not do the same or broadly similar work and rejected the
            appeal. It found that wholetime firefighters had “measurable additional job
            functions” including education and preventative work. FBU decides to appeal
            to the highest national legal authority – the House of Lords.
          March 2006 Law Lords uphold the appeal brought by the FBU. The Law Lords
           said that retained and wholetime firefighters are employed on the same “type
           of contract”. They ruled that the Employment Tribunal (ET) which originally
           rejected the FBU’s case had focussed too much on differences rather than
           similarities between wholetime and RDS duty contracts. Case sent back to ET.
          November 2007 ET five day hearing takes into account the House of Lords ruling
            and, following concerns from the claimants about the accuracy of some key
            evidence heard by original ET (principally around the extent of RDS firefighters’
            involvement on Community Fire Safety), considers this fresh evidence and
            decides whether to make additional or different findings from that original ET.
            Further evidence to be submitted and considered in the following months.
          Spring 2008 ET ruling expected.

                                                      January/February 2008 FireFighter 15

whaT DoES a hEaD oF
Bob Smith, Avon’s Head of Fire Control, runs a control 
room with 30 staff working four shifts who help people 
who can be distressed and panicking. So his views on 
government plans to replace 46 local centres with nine 
regional ones are well worth listening to

              ob Smith has been in the fire         knows first-hand the stresses and satisfac-
              service for 36 years – the last 20 as tions it can bring. Control staff may be on
              Head of Fire Control at Avon Fire the end of the phone rather than out on an
              and Rescue. It’s a role he combines appliance dousing down flames, but in many
              with heading up communica-            ways, they are very much in the frontline.
tions at Avon. So he was an obvious choice          They are dealing with people who may well
for Firefighter to interview to spread a few        be panicky and distressed. The job is to
insights about the crucial role control plays       “extract crucial information from the caller
in serving the public and                                            in the shortest possible time,”
minimising loss of life and           Control                        Bob says. And, when every
property.                                                            second can count, offering
    He is also well placed to         staff taking                   callers reassurance, support
take a strategic view, as he is                                      and calm professionalism.
Avon’s co-ordinator for two           emergency calls                “Control staff have to make
national systems – Firelink                                          sure they get the correct
radio and the Government’s            have to be calm                address and send out the
controversial plans for                                              right appliances when people
regional control centres. He’s
                                      and reassuring                 ring in with emergencies.             “People can be understandably distressed,
also been an FBU member                                              Sometimes they can be very        so control staff taking emergency calls
since he joined the service.                        distressed.                                        have to be calm and reassuring. We need to
    As head of control, Bob is in charge of the         “Obviously it’s important that we not only     pinpoint exactly where the fire is.”
day-to-day running of a control room where listen, but also lead the caller to get down                    Then there are the “misrouted ”calls
30 staff members, spread over four shifts,          to the essentials – what’s on fire, where it is    which can come from as far away as
provide the first contact to members of the         and making sure we don’t miss important            Manchester or Liverpool. “We always take
public who ring for help.                           information such as that there is someone in       the call. The public just wants to get through
    It’s a job he did himself in the past – so he   a wheelchair on the first floor.                   and we don’t want them to put the phone
                                                                                                       down if they are not talking to their local
                                                                                                       station. People sometimes think they are
                                                                                                       ringing their local fire station.
                                                                                                           “The thing is to get the information, not
                                                                                                       reply: ‘No, it’s control,’ if they ask if it’s the
                                                                                                       fire station, or tell them they are hundreds
                                                                                                       of miles away. It’s a case of just getting the
                                                                                                       details as quickly and accurately as possible
                                                                                                       and passing them on.”
                                                                                                           At Avon, as in most other fire and rescue
                                                                                                       services, control shifts are matched to
                                                                                                       frontline firefighter shifts, which, says Bob,
                                                                                                       helps build rapport. “We are another station
                                                                                                       to the people on the ground. We don’t just
                                                                                                       take the emergency calls and turn out appli-
                                                                                                       ances. We receive messages, get help from
                                                                                                       other services – whatever is needed at the
                                                                                                       incident ground.
                                                                                                           “Firefighters know there’s a face and a
                                                                                                       name to colleagues in control, which is what
                                                                                                       we’ve tried to achieve over the years at Avon.

16 FireFighter January/February 2008 
                                                                                                                       working For you

                                                                                                pictures: paul box
                                                                                                                                Steve HaRMaN
                                                                                                                                   Brigade Secretary

                                                                                                                     Attacks on crewing levels, attacks on TB
                                                                                                                     1/97 BA safe operating procedures, attacks
                                                                                                                     on mobilising control jobs, attacks on officer
                                                                                                                     cover, proposals to remove RDS front line
                                                                                                                     appliances, increased response times for
                                                                                                                     special appliances, loss of STC trainer posts,
                                                                                                                     attempts to undermine the ‘Grey Book’
                                                                                                                     overtime rate: these are just some of the
                                                                                                                     issues brigade officials have faced since the
                                                                                                                     so-called modernisation process began. It
                                                                                                                     did not take long to realise that the IRMP
                                                                                                                     was budget-driven to implement cuts.
                                                                                                                         We realised early on that on occasion, in
                                                                                                                     order to achieve its objectives, Lancashire
                                                                                                                     Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) regarded the
                                                                            Bob Smith in the                         consultation process as a game of chess.
                                                                           Avon control room                             This year’s IRMP has been no
                                                                                                                     exception. In one section of a consultation
It works well.”                               their heads for four years now. They know                              questionnaire entitled “Matching emergency
    Avon is not plagued by recruitment and    what’s planned and it has to be business as                            cover to varying risk” it stated: “From long
retention problems – there’s a recruit school usual. It has helped that our fire authority                           experience, LFRS knows that the risk of fires
on at the moment, but only because long-      chair Terry Walker and chief fire officer                              occurring and the number of emergency
                                                                                                                     calls we receive varies substantially at
standing staff have retired.                  Kevin Pearson have told control staff that
                                                                                                                     different times of the day and night.
    Courses for fire control recruits run     if they don’t want to move they will be                                Nonetheless, despite risk levels and demand
alongside firefighter courses, and where      redeployed within the fire authority.”                                 varying, we have historically provided the
possible, recruits attend courses which           While there is always room for improve-                            same number of fire engines over each
encompass both control and firefighter        ment, when major incidents have hit Avon                               24-hour period. We are now considering
disciplines.                                                    and neighbouring brigade                             changing how we match our resources, i.e.
    For instance, control
operators have an hour or
                                   The planned shift control centres coped very
                                                                well. For example, when
                                                                                                                     fire engines, more closely to these varying
                                                                                                                     risk and demand levels.”
so on the role of the pump         has had an effect floods hit Gloucestershire in                                       Then it asked: “Taking into account the
                                                                                                                     paragraph above, do you agree or disagree
operator during training “so                                    July, Avon control doubled
they can hear how noisy it         on morale. The               the number of staff on duty                          that LFRS should more effectively match the
                                                                                                                     resources (fire appliances) we provide to
can get when we are trying                                      to take calls from stricken
to communicate with                staff have been              areas and “ passed them
                                                                                                                     varying levels of risk and demand?”
                                                                                                                         In other words: “Because we have based
firefighters in the midst of                                    back” to Gloucestershire fire
dealing with an incident.”
                                   tremendous                   and rescue authority.
                                                                                                                     the risk at night solely on the probability
                                                                                                                     and have not considered the severity, would
    The plan to replace 46                                          As an experienced and                            you agree to the removal of fire engines at
local centres with nine regional ones will    committed professional, Bob Smith says                                 night when the majority of people are asleep
mean calls currently dealt with by Avon       people join the fire service to protect the                            in their beds?” Surreally, LFRS has stated
will be dealt with at the newly built RCC in  public and save lives. Whether nine RCCs                               that they have made no such proposal.
Taunton, earmarked to serve the whole of      will be more “resilient” than the 46 local                                 As you would expect, this has been
                                                                                                                     vigorously opposed by the FBU and at this
the South West. Calls taken by Avon staff are centres now serving the public, as the
                                                                                                                     time, the fire authority has stated it will only
scheduled to transfer there from May 2010 – government maintains, is a moot point, he                                consider this issue as part of its 2009 Fire
though many believe this timetable will slip. says. “But whatever the future brings,” Bob                            Cover Review. It’s worth noting that – as
    The planned shift has, says, Bob, had     adds, “it should always be to improve the                              happened in 2006 when ten RDS appliances
an impact on morale. “The staff have been     fire and rescue service for the public.” The                           were under threat – there has been no
tremendous. They’ve had this hanging over     question is, will RCCs achieve this?                                   response from the RFU.

                                                                                                                        January/February 2008 FireFighter 17
                    your WelFare HealtH

                                               new year, new start      Ten ways to get that feel good factor
                                                                               ways to meditate – choose one that suits you.         sinuses, tones the stomach and back mus-
                                no PaIn, Just gaIn                             There is no equipment necessary. All you need         cles and encourages the body to produce the
                                                                               to do is find a bit of free time and a reasonably     feel-good hormones – endorphins – as well

               1             Do something new: take up a new hobby
                             or sport or dedicate some time to learning
                                                                               comfortable place to sit.                             as reducing stress. You might want to sound-
                                                                                                                                     proof your bathroom walls first though.
                         a language perhaps (see no. 7). This is good for
                         relaxing and beating stress.                          4   Do something on a regular basis that
                                                                                   you really enjoy – give yourself some-
                                                                               thing to look forward to – a game of golf,            8   If you have a few spare hours a week,
                                                                                                                                         how about doing some ‘volunteering’. It

                         2    Make a conscious decision to eat
                              healthier: have some breakfast; you should
                         always try and eat something within an hour of
                                                                               going out to see a film or play. It might just
                                                                               be getting round the table once a week for a
                                                                               relaxed meal with your family or friends.
                                                                                                                                     can, according to American research, boost
                                                                                                                                     your immune system, help you sleep better
                                                                                                                                     and make you less likely to become depressed
                         waking up to kick start your metabolism. Eat a                                                              and anxious. There are endless ways to donate
                         little less of the things you know aren’t so good
                         for you and eat a little more of the things you
                         know are beneficial to your health. You’ll feel
                                                                               5   Socialise – stop making excuses and
                                                                                   free up a bit of time in the week to get in
                                                                               contact with friends. There’s nothing like a
                                                                                                                                     some free time – check the websites of organi-
                                                                                                                                     sations, charity bodies etc in your area.

                         more energetic for it and maybe lose a couple
                         of pounds too – and with no silly diet fads or
                         calculating calorie intake. No pain!
                                                                               chat and you may even get round to making
                                                                               that date to meet up! Socialising is not only
                                                                               good for your health; it can even make you
                                                                                                                                     9   Give yourself a few ‘dry’ days a week –
                                                                                                                                         making weekends and Wednesdays your
                                                                                                                                     allocated drinking days. You’ll never be more
                                                                               live longer, according to some studies.               than a couple of days away from a chilled

                         3    Spend 10 minutes a day doing some
                              kind of relaxing activity even if it is only
                         deep breathing to lower stress levels and help        6    Do a bit of brain training every day, it
                                                                                    can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Try
                                                                                                                                     glass of sauvignon blanc or a bottle of your
                                                                                                                                     favourite brew and it will probably taste all
                                                                                                                                     the nicer for it.
                         you unwind. Try a ‘hatha’ yoga deep breathing         crossword puzzles (the one in Firefighter
                         technique – particularly beneficial after a hard
                         day’s (or night’s) work to relax the mind and
                         body and help you get off to sleep (it also helps
                                                                               magazine is only for real aficionados!) or a
                                                                               su doku puzzle? There are plenty of electronic
                                                                               games that keep your grey matter agile, with
                                                                                                                                     10      Lastly, de-clutter. There is nothing
                                                                                                                                             quite like starting the New Year
                                                                                                                                     having given the shed, loft, spare room,
                         tone the stomach muscles).                            some even giving you a ‘brain age’, depending         wardrobe, desk – whatever – a good clear
                             Alternatively you could try meditation:           on your results (it can be quite satisfying to see    out. You might find ‘that’ long lost whatever
                         new research proves that meditation reduces           it getting younger).                                  or something worth selling on eBay. And
                         stress, blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety                                                              if not, the best thing is you will have freed
                         and increases mental abilities, focus, concen-
                         tration and longevity. There are many different       7   Try singing. It is not only aerobic –
                                                                                   working the lungs and heart, it clears
                                                                                                                                     up space and feel so much better for having
                                                                                                                                     made the effort.
fiona hanson/pa photos

                         Fauja singh celebrated his 93rd birthday as he ran the london marathon for the fifth time in 2004. He put his success down to a diet of ginger, curries and
                         regular meditation

                                FBu FRee
                    18 FireFighter Month 2006               CoNFiDeNtial StReSS & SuPPoRt HelPliNe 0800 783 4778
                                                                                                 your WelFare you anD tHe laW

management dictat                                                                                                          The Health and Safety
                                                                                                                          Executive advises that
q    when our management
     wants to introduce new
policies they first get approval
                                                                                                                            asbestos in good
                                                                                                                              condition should be
                                                                                                                                left where it is and be
from the fire authority so that                                                                                                  regularly monitored.
when our FBU officials speak                                                                                                     The area should be
to the brigade they are told:                                                                                                     clearly marked and
“It’s now policy and can’t be                                                                                                     anyone likely to go
changed”. I believe that our                                                                                                      near it should be
contracts of employment may                                                                                                       warned.
have been changed like this,                                                                                                         So if the asbestos
without agreement. Is this                                                                                                       at the station is
legal?                                                                                                                          not damaged, then
                                                                                                                                the response of the
a    It is important to under-
     stand the distinction
between contractual and
                                                                                                                               employer may not
                                                                                                                              be inappropriate. If,
non-contractual matters.                                                                                                      however, it is damaged,
There will be occasions when                                                                                                 it is not enough to ban
policies are introduced by                                                                                                   people from the area.
management relating to issues,                                                                                                   The FBU safety rep
such as health and safety,                                                                                                  should discuss with
which the fire authority may                                                                                                management what the
have statutory authority to                                                                                                 inspections have said
implement without the agree-                                                                                               about the condition of the
ment of members.                                                                                                           asbestos and whether the
    In these cases, the scope for                                                                                         response has been appro-
negotiation by FBU officials                                                                                             priate and complies with the
would be more limited although                                                                                         regulations.
under the Grey Book there                                                                                                Because increasing numbers
would still be a requirement                                                                                        of firefighters and former
to consult members. It would                                                                                        firefighters are developing
                                                                                               satoshi kaMbayashi
not be acceptable for the fire                                                                                      asbestos-related conditions, the
authority to change such policies
without consultation.                                   Legal beagle                                                FBU advises any member or
                                                                                                                    retired member who thinks they
                                                                                                                    have been exposed to asbestos
    The position with issues such
as members’ pay and hours                                                                                           to join the FBU asbestos register,
is different. Policies relating
                                        Answers to some frequently asked legal                                      whether or not they have been
to such issues are probably             questions that members put to the FBU                                       diagnosed with any condition.
contractual and, therefore,                                                                                             This is a register of details
would require the member’s                                                                                          of where and when individuals
agreement to implement.              They will need to obtain medical     place a duty on anyone with               believe they were exposed. It
                                     reports and to contact any wit-      responsibility for the repair and         can be of invaluable assistance
                                     nesses to the accident. There is     maintenance of non-domestic               when pursuing compensation
on duty injury                       in any case a three-year time        premises to manage any asbestos           claims on behalf of those who
                                     limit, from the date of your acci-                                             have developed asbestos related
q   I was injured at an
    operational incident where
I was not at fault. Am I entitled
                                     dent, for claiming.
                                                                          in the building.
                                                                              Regulation 4 deals with
                                                                          workplaces. It places on
                                                                                                                        To enter your details on the
                                                                                                                    register, call 0808 100 6061 and
to any financial compensation?       asbestos at work                     employers a duty to monitor
                                                                                                                    ask for a form. Alternatively visit
                                                                          asbestos and to keep records.
a   If you are injured as a result
    of someone else’s negligence
then you may be entitled to
                                     q    despite being highlighted
                                          in a number of health and
                                                                              It is not negligent to have
                                                                          asbestos in a building. Many
                                                                                                                    the FBU website (
                                                                                                                    uk) and go to the ‘Workplace’
                                                                                                                    section (Officials forms) to fill
                                     safety inspections there is still    work places, homes and public
compensation. It is important        a large amount of asbestos in                                                  one in on-line or to get hold of
that you seek legal advice as                                             places still contain asbestos. As         a form to print and send to our
                                     my workplace. My employer’s          long as it is in good condition so
soon as possible through the         solution is to simply ban                                                      solicitors Thompsons.
FBU’s free legal assistance                                               that fibres will not be released
                                     access to these areas (which
scheme. Our lawyers will assess                                           into the atmosphere, it should
                                     includes the pole drops).
your claim. If it is considered                                           not present a hazard.                     > Write in with your legal problem
                                     Is this a suitable response
to be valid they will start the                                               Damaged asbestos, or                  to and those
                                     or should the asbestos be
process of claiming damages                                               asbestos sited somewhere that it          of widest relevance to FBU members
                                     completely removed?
on your behalf. The sooner that                                           is in danger of being damaged,            in the workplace will be selected and
they can do this the better as
“evidence” can quickly go cold.      a   The Control of Asbestos
                                         at Work Regulations 2002
                                                                          by maintenance work or
                                                                          vandalism for example, is a risk.
                                                                                                                    answered in future editions. With
                                                                                                                    thanks to Thompsons solicitors.

FBu FReePHoNe legal aDviCe liNe 0808 100 6061                                                              January/February 2008 FireFighter 19
Day oFF me anD my golF

‘there’s a great sense
 of camaraderie
 on the course’
Kenny Hankinson is one of the many keen golfers in 
Scotland’s fire brigades – thanks to the game’s team 
ethos, not to mention a keen competitive spirit

               olf is big in the Scotland’s fire and rescue serv- beyond the region, which has encouraged
               ices, and nowhere more so than Strathclyde         more people to join.
               brigade. Kenny, 41, caught the golfing bug at          “Meeting firefighters from all over the
               11 and has been an active member of the golf country and other parts of the UK gives a
               section for the past seven years.                  different perspective. There’s a social side – a
    Members enjoy playing at many highly rated golf               few rounds and a few beers are a good way of
courses and the season is studded with competitions –             unwinding.
from the Scottish singles, to the Four Nations and the                “Being able to discuss things with colleagues
prestigious Sheriff ’s Cup.                                       from Devon to Norfolk or wherever gives you a
    In this event, after qualifying rounds across the UK,         chance to get to know what’s happening in different
golfing firefighters from England, Scotland, Wales and            fire and rescue services.
Northern Ireland compete over two days in teams of                    “There’s a great sense of camaraderie on the course
four. There’s a day of doubles                                                             and afterwards. People are
followed by individual rounds.           ‘Being able to discuss things very welcoming. And it’s a
    “Every score counts,” says                                                             great way to relax.”
Kenny, who knows firsthand                with colleagues from Devon                           But alongside the relax-
how this can really matter when                                                            ation, the adrenalin rush can
you’re out there on the fairway.          to Norfolk or wherever gives also be very much part of the
“The Sheriff ’s rotates between                                                            game. Take last summer’s
fire and rescue sections. In 2007, you a chance to get to know                             Sheriff ’s Cup – with the added
Strathclyde hosted the contest at         what’s happening in different edge, for Strathclyde Fire and
Cawder golf course – and won it                                                            Rescue Section, of playing on
for the first time since 1983.”           fire and rescue services’                        home turf. Kenny was in the
    Then, of course, there’s the                                                           winning team – and admits to
fiercely contested annual Scotland versus England inter-          feeling rather pressured as he played in the last round of
national, which Kenny has played in a good few times.             the contest.
                                                                      “I knew we were leading and I had to put in a half
 £150 a round                                                     decent performance to win. Golf is normally about
The shift system is excellent for golfers, says Kenny, who
has been known to have the odd round with station
colleagues. “During the summer, golf courses tend to be
quieter midweek and it’s far easier to get tee-off times.” His
local club – Troon Welbeck – is just down the road from
exclusive Royal Troon, where a round can cost £150 for
those who can get to play. But Kenny can play two rounds
on the championship course for £18 in an annual tourna-
ment for local amateurs who play off a handicap of less
than five.
    So what is it about golf and firefighters? It obviously
pays to be a team player in contests that don’t just focus
on individual scores, which, says Kenny fits in with how
firefighters approach the job. “We are obviously used
to sticking together at work. In Strathclyde section, we
try and get out to higher-rated golf courses around and

20 FireFighter January/February 2008
                             individual performance, but
                          the Sheriff ’s Cup and the Four
                     Nations are more like the fire service
             where you work as a team. So when you’re
representing Strathclyde or Scotland, you want to do
well for your colleagues, specially if it’s looking good and
you’re the last to play.”
We ended up winning
Kenny was the last of his team to play that day – and his
three colleagues had already put in good scores. The
adrenalin was pumping and he knew the cup was within
the team’s grasp. “I played the first nine holes quite well,
then got it into my head that I had to be really careful,
got quite defensive and my game started to go downhill.
 Fortunately, I managed to turn it round and we ended up
  winning by six shots.”
        Kenny enjoys team events. “When you’re repre-
      senting Strathclyde or Scotland you kind of want to
       do well for your colleagues – especially if they’ve
       played well. You don’t want to let them down. In
       competitions, all teams are trying their utmost to
       win. There’s a good bit of banter out there, and it
       really matters – especially when we’re trying to
       beat the auld enemy. I’m sure the English team
       feel the same about beating us.” But it’s all very
       civilised, of course.
           Kenny could be poised to take over as secre-
                                                               pictures: alan Wylie

                                                                                                                                                   Kenny practising at
                                                                                      tary of the Strathclyde golf section now longstanding        troon Welbeck
                    KeNNY HaNKiNSoN                                                   secretary Willy Hotchkiss, who has done much to build
           Kenny Hankinson is station commander                                       up the club, has retired from the service. Retired and
           at Barrhead fire station on the outskirts of                               retained members are keen section members. There are
           glasgow. He plays off a handicap of two,                                   no women members – but Kenny says they would be
           would like to get down to scratch and is a                                 “most welcome”.
           keen member of the flourishing strathclyde
                                                                                         “It would be good to have a European champion-
           Fire and rescue golf section.
                                                                                      ship and if we could expand the four nations contest to
                                                                                      include the Republic of Ireland. There are some great golf
                                                                                      courses over there …”

                                                                                                                                January/February 2008 FireFighter 21

                quick Crossword
     1         2          3                    4         5         6

7                                         8


10                                   11

12                        13
                                                                                                                                        Prize quiz
                                                                                                                             Win a ‘Romantic getaway’ in
          14              15                             16
                                                                                                                                  a luxury 4* hotel
     17                                                            18
                                                                                                                             Enter our prize quiz and it could be yours
19             20                              21        22
                                                                                                                             This issue the theme is ‘last year’s news’ 
                                                                                                                                       1 . What over-budget stadium
                                                                                nick potts/pa photos

23                                             24                                                                                      which recently hosted the
                                                                                                                                       embarrassing departure of
                                                                                                                                       England from the European
25                                        26                                                                                           Champions League was
                                                                                                                                       completed and opened in March
                                                                                                                                       2 . In June 2007 what long
7, 10 24 of TUC (7, 6)
  8 24 of RMT (3,4)
                                           1 Big wave; crusher of cars (7)
                                           2 Even more stuck-up! (8)
                                                                                                                              3        anticipated hand-over took place
                                                                                                                                       at 10 Downing St?
10 See 7                                   3 More just, or lighter-haired (6)                                                          3 . Name the

                                                                                                                                                                                   starMax/eMpics entertainMent/pa photos
 11 Approaching from opposite              4 Weaver of spells – with an                                                          Welsh boxer who won
    direction (8)                            apprentice? (8)                                                                     the WBO/WBA/WBC
12 Type of food shop, in short (4)         5 Shrimps, cooked in                                                                  super-middleweight title
13 Late US singer-songwriter of              breadcrumbs (6)                                                                     bout at the Millennium
    Only The Lonely etc (3,7)              6 US fast-food favourite:                                                             Stadium in Cardiff in
14 Privileged class of ‘nobility’ (11)       sausage, cooked in batter,
                                             served on a stick (4,3)                                                             November 2007?
19 Electrical conductors used to
    make contact, used in medicine,        9 Joint 24 of Unite (4,7)                                                         4 . Name the rich, famous

    plating, torture etc (10)             15 Mark, 24 of PCS (8)                                                                 musician whose
22 Bird - on a chess board? (4)           16 Material covering windows (8)                                                       acrimonious divorce
23 Male voice between bass and            17 Shabby, grubby public                                                               proceedings filled the
    tenor (8)                                building, especially cinema                                                         tabloids for much of 2007?
24 The one at the front (6)                  (4,3)
                                          18 Former kingdom now in Czech                                                     5 . In November 2007 in a landslide
25 Find unpleasant (7)
                                             Republic, synonymous with                                                           victory what country has gone from
26 Dave, 24 of Unison (7)
                                             unconventional lifestyle (7)                                                                        a long term right wing
                                                                                ap/pa photos

                                          20 Not warm (6)                                                                                        government to a Labour
                                          21 Wage, usually paid monthly (6)                                                                      government?
                                                                                                                                                 6 . What British thespian
                                                                                                                                                 won best leading actress

                                                                                                                                       5         in the 2007 Bafta awards
                                                                                                                                                 for her role in ‘The
                                                                                                       answers to
                                                                                                       december quiz                        HoW to eNteR
                                                                                                       1. billy bob          To win the ‘Romantic Getaway’ please send your
                                                                                                       2. a partridge in a   answers to the Prize Quiz by 29 February 2008
                                                                                                          pear tree
                                                                                                       3. palestine
                                                                                                                             on a postcard to: Prize Competition (January/
                                                                                                       4. 24                 February 2008), FBU Head Office, Bradley House,
                                                                                                       5. Winter solstice
                                                    Solution to                                        6. the Queen          68 Coombe Road, Kingston upon Thames,
                                                    November/                                                                Surrey, KT2 7AE. Include your name, address and
                                                                                                       Winner of the
                                                    December                                           october 2007 quiz     membership number. The winner will be selected
                                                                                                       was Martin tuckey
                                                                                                       of poole
                                                                                                                             at random from all correct entries.

22 FireFighter January/February 2008

                                … brings you the news they don’t want you to hear

station chimp
                                                  and coordinated contribution by Whitehall          million shortfall was set aside as councillors
             Hope you didn’t miss the clever      departments but, like a small child                were tempted by proposals for allowance
             chimps on TV counting up             clamouring for the attention of its bigger         rises that would cost £247,000.
             randomly placed numbers in           classmates, the department does not have              the last recommendation was to increase
             their proper order. In fact they     the influence to make this happen.”                councillors’ allowances by 140%. The chair of
can finish the test much faster than humans.          You’ve guessed it, it’s CLoG. And what did     the fire authority’s allowance would go up
   So I have now recruited Station Chimp          they have to say in response. Along the lines      from £15,186 to £33,066 and massive rises all
to assist the civil servants in Communities       of everyone else is wrong and they are right.      round for councillors with “special responsi-
and Local Government (CLoG) with their                They found the comments “baffling” and         bility”, although firefighting isn’t one of them.
counting up. Station Chimp has been               said: “We simply do not recognise many of              Allowance rises in Merseyside used to
looking at the figures for FireControl.           the suggestions in the report.” Sure. All’s well   be tied to the general pay rise within the
   He says the claimed £20 million ‘savings’      on the Magic Planet of CLoG, pass the happy        fire service. Is it only in McGuirkeyside
on annual operating costs won’t start to          pills and let me see the FireControl project.      that such proposals for 140% rises would
happen – if they ever do – until 2015 at the                                                         see the light of day? They have been binned
earliest. The chimp says this is called “steady   Delays abolished                                   for the time being. The next move will be
state operating conditions”.                                                                         proposals for even more cuts in fire cover in
   But as the leases for the regional control            And back on the Magic Planet of             McGuirkeyside.
buildings run out any time between 2026                  CLoG they have abolished delays in
and 2031 the savings can only be achieved                the FireLink and FireControl                swindler
for 11-16 years.. DCLOG are also massaging               Projects. The great plans are doing
the ‘savings’ so they don’t have to deduct the    splendidly well with no more delays on                       I’ve no time for showboating
annual losses in the years before 2015.           either of these linked projects (pass more                   arrogant swindlers who steal
    even on the savings figures most              happy pills, the effect is fading).                          millions of pounds of other people’s
favourable to clog, the £1 billion-plus               not meeting deadlines and having to build                money. Conrad Black’s Sunday
Firecontrol Project cannot possibly pay for       in further delays are now being called “realism    Telegraph was obsessed with attacking the
itself until at least 2065.                       adjustments”, according to several people          Union throughout the pay dispute.
   That is 34 years after the last lease runs     close to the projects. You may think I’m               There is a difference between any group
out. If the Station Chimp can spot that is        kidding, but sadly, no.                            of workers having a legitimate and legal pay
impossible for the project to make savings            Realism adjustments – delays – are trying      claim and stealing £3 million.
on the money invested, why can’t the              to inject some realism into both projects              That’s what the Sunday Telegraph’s
department?                                       without admitting that some dates are slipping     crooked, swindling owner – who still
   The clever chimp has also spotted that         back even further. It’s what happens when          clings to the title of Lord Black has been
the longer the delays the more money the          you launch projects without a heavy dose of        convicted of.
consultants make. Won’t that be a surprise.       realism in timing and costs at the very start.         He joins the ranks of other arrogant
                                                      The Station Cat, along with others, knew       showboating media swindlers like Bob
ministry of mayhem                                all along that both projects on their own are      Maxwell who robbed the company pension
                                                  very, very ambitious. Tie the two projects         fund and jumped off his yacht.
          Which government department is          together – and demand detailed synchroni-             Black will do six and a half years. the
          “not up to the job” of managing the     sation – and greater risk is added to both of      crooked hypocrite deserves more.
          £670 million Thames Gateway             them in terms of delays and extra costs.
          Development, according to the               When the department gets back from
Public Accounts Committee (PAC)? Which            its trip to the Magic Planet expect the
department was condemned for its “woeful          announcement of more delays. Sorry,
handling of this critical project” by Lib Dem     “realism adjustments”.
MP Tom Brake?
    Any idea? How about this from Tom             mcguirkeyside
Brake again: “Ministers have broken all the
basic project management rules: they do                      In McGuirkeyside the cycle of
not know how much it will cost, whether                      councillors backing huge pay
it represents value for money or who is                      rises for top managers and then
responsible for what.”                                       top managers tabling papers
    And this truly dreadful department is         backing massive increases in allowances for
treated with near contempt in Whitehall           councillors gathers apace.                         * if you have any snippets you think Station
and goes ignored says Mr Brake: “Crucial             Memories of the £6 million funding gap          Cat should get his sharp claws into email:
to the success of the enterprise will be a full   have faded away, and another claimed £2  

                                                                                                        January/February 2008 FireFighter 23
            25-year badges
                                                                                                                     FbU REGIonaL oFFICES
                                                                                                                > Region 1 Scotland
                                                                                                                52 St Enoch Square, Glasgow,
                                                                                                                Scotland g1 4aa
                                                                                                                0141 221 2309
                                                                                                                > Region 2 N. Ireland
                                                                                                                14 Bachelors Walk, Lisburn,
                                                                                                                Co Antrim, bt28 1xj
                                                                                                                02892 664622
                                                                                                                > Region 3 Cleveland, Durham,
                                                                                                                Northumberland, Tyne and Wear
                                                                                                                1 Carlton Court, 5th Avenue, Team Valley,
                                                                                                                Gateshead, ne11 0az
                                                                                                                0191 487 4142
                                                                                                                > Region 4 Yorkshire and Humberside
                                                                                                                9 Marsh Street, Rothwell,
                                                                                                                Leeds, ls26 0ag
                                                                                                                0113 288 7000
                                                                                                                > Region 5 Greater Manchester, Lancashire,
                                                                                                                Isle of Man, Cumbria, Merseyside, Cheshire
                                                                                                                The Lighthouse, Lower Mersey St,
                                                                                                                Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, ch65 2al
Rik davies (r) upton Blue Watch         Norrie henderson (r) Dunfermline     Pete Flynn (l) Blue Watch north    0151 357 4400
receives his 25-year badge              Branch receives his 25-year          lincoln, lincolnshire receives
                                                                                                                > Region 6 Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire,
from mark rowe, Brigade rep,            badge from scott mccabe              his 25-year badge from tim Fryer   Lincolnshire, Leicestershire,
merseyside                              Brigade secretary Fife               Branch rep                         Little Dennis Street South (above Dawsons)
                                                                                                                Nottingham NG2 4EU
                                                                                                                0115 947 2042
                                                                                                                > Region 7 West Midlands, Staffordshire,
                                                                                                                Warwickshire, Hereford and Worcester, Salop
                                                                                                                195/7 Halesowen Rd, Old Hill,
                                                                                                                West Midlands, b64 6he
                                                                                                                01384 413633
                                                                                                                > Region 8 Mid and West Wales, North
                                                                                                                Wales, South Wales
                                                                                                                4 Ffordd yr Hen Gae, Pencoed,
                                                                                                                Bridgend, cf35 5lj
                                                                                                                01656 867910
                                                                                                                > Region 9 Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire,
                                                                                                                Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk
                                                                                                                28 Atlantic Square, Station Road,
SC John hamill, enniskillen             Graeme Joss (l) Watch manager        kevin Parrington (r) upton green   Witham, Essex, cm8 2tl
District nI, receives his 25-year       receives his 25-year badge from      Watch receives his 25-year badge   01376 521521
badge from tony maguire,                Watch manager Bob thomson,           from mark rowe, Brigade rep,       > Region 10 London
regional secretary                      lothian and Borders                  merseyside                         John Horner Mews, Frome Street,
                                                                                                                Islington, London, n1 8pb
                                                                                                                020 7359 3638
                                                                                                                > Region 11 Kent, Surrey, Sussex
                                                                                                                Fire Station, Coldharbour Road,
                                                                                                                Northfleet, Kent, da11 8nt
                                                                                                                01474 320473
                                                                                                                > Region 12 Buckinghamshire, Berkshire,
                                                                                                                Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Isle of Wight
                                                                                                                The Fire Station, St Mary Street, High
                                                                                                                Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, hp11 2he
                                                                                                                01494 513034
                                                                                                                > Region 13 Cornwall, Somerset, Devon,
                                                                                                                Avon, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Dorset
                                                                                                                158 Muller Road, Horfield,
                                                                                                                Bristol, bs7 9re
                                                                                                                0117 935 5132
Elaine Smith (l) Derbyshire             Pete dann (r) upton White Watch      keith Jones (r) Farnham green
control receives her 25-year            receives his 25-year badge           watch receives his 25-year badge
badge from Phil Poole Derbyshire        from mark rowe, Brigade rep,         from mick smith surrey Fire and
Brigade chair                           merseyside                           rescue West Division rep           Change of address
                                                                                                                or next of kin
                                                                                                                Advise your Brigade Membership
 Please send photographic                                                                                       Secretary of any change of address and
 prints or digital picture files to:                                                                            Head Office of changes to next of kin or
                                                                                                                nominations for benefits.
 Firefighter, FBu, 68 coombe road,
 Kingston upon thames, Kt2 7ae
 or (Please                                                                                FBu FReePHoNe
 note that inkjet prints from digital                                                                             legal aDviCe liNe
 pictures reproduce very poorly).                                                                                 0808 100 6061
 Please include Full DetaIls                                                                                      The line provides advice for
                                                                                                                  personal injury, family law, wills,
 for every picture – full names                                                                                   conveyancing, personal finance
 of everyone who is in it; their                                                                                  and consumer issues.
 station/brigade/watch etc; where                                                                                 For disciplinary and employment-
                                        Lindsay Bell (l) and kevin           Arthur Brown (r) receives his        related queries contact your local
 they are in the picture (eg: left to   Murphy (r) lochgelly branch          25-year badge from mark rowe,        FBU representative.
 right); their union posts/branch if    receive their 25-year badges from    Brigade rep, merseyside
 relevant; and where and when it        graeme Birtley Brigade chair, Fife
 was taken.

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