The Fire Brigades Union is angry over the recommendations of "time and motion consultants", who have previously been brought into the Hertfordshire brigade, where a strike resulted. The Union has commissioned accountants to find the £3m worth of savings the fire service insists it must make, without putting the public at increased risk. It suggests placing money saved up in funds into immediate budgets and postponing high-cost educational projects while the deficit is reduced. It also wants to maintain the current station on the waterfront, rather than moving out of the city centre to the proposed £1 million ‘Fireworld’ building in St Anne Street. If today's talks between the FBU and leaders of the elected fire authority fail, a ballot will be taken on Friday.
But why does that amount of money need to be saved anyway, when the government spends tens of billions per year on ‘defence’?
Ironically, if the strike does go ahead, then army green goddesses will not be able to provide cover, since the Territorial Army is on standby for callout to Afghanistan, protecting an oil pipeline for George Bush and his business buddies.
Fire Chief Tony McGuirk said: "If strike action is unavoidable, we will find cover with staff who are not members of the FBU and a number of members who will continue to work anyway.
"Next week, we will begin two-day refresher training courses for officers who no longer fight fires but have undertaken other roles or work in offices.
The mainstream media is bound to go for the throats of Merseyside FBU if they do strike, since the area would be without military cover. But it is important to remember three things. First, they are trying to make sure there will be more fire engines and firefighters in the future. Second, there will only be no cover because the TA is standing by to go to Afghanistan and/or Syria/Iran. Third, part of the reason the government makes these cuts is that they are spending so much on war!