Firefighter Mark Rowe - Speaking up for Merseysiders
Last night, Skarratts met with Assistant Chief Fire Officer Bill Evans in a secret location. He emerged from the talks and told BBC News that he had begun "negotiating".
Merseyside firefighters overwhelmingly voted to strike against the cuts proposed by the Fire and Rescue Authority and demanded by the government.
This dispute started as a black-and-white issue, with the Fire Authority proposing cuts and Merseyside FBU opposing them. The first outcome is against the interests of the working class as a whole and the firefighters in particular. Negotiation and compromise will inevitably mean a victory for the Authority, with only the scale of that victory up for discussion.
Yesterday morning, the Fire Authority's desperation was becoming apparent, in the face of firefighter determination and solidarity. Now Skarratts is talking the language of defeat, ahead of another meeting on Monday. Working class people must make sure the firefighters know they have our support, but the firefighters cannot allow their leaders to give an inch.
As previously reported, the firefighters plan to strike until 10am on Monday, then they will begin another four day stoppage two hours later. Unlike in previous strikes, the region is without military cover, since the Territorial Army are on standby to go into Afghanistan and Iraq to help out in Blair's oil wars.
It is important to remember three things. First, the strike was called to make sure there will be at least as many firefighters and fire engines in the future. Second, there is no cover only because the Territorial Army is standing by to go into Afghanistan and Iraq. Third, part of the reason the government makes these cuts is that they are spending so much on war!