Though there has been more than one outbreak of industrial action on Merseyside over the summer months, the firefighters' dispute looks like being the most significant.
Merseyside firefighters have ended their strike against £3.5 million worth of cuts to essential services. The region was without much of its fire cover, since the Territorial Army were in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan, supporting Blair's oil wars. However, this was not the firefighters' fault, and they were only striking to prevent cuts that would leave Liverpool city centre with less fire engines than we currently have, and at least one hundred less firefighters. If the government pulled out of any Middle Eastern country, they could invest the money in more fire engines, and lots of other positive things!
Liverpool Indymedia reports: Mersey Firefighters to Fight Service Cuts | Ex-Firefighters To Stand With Bosses On Cuts Agenda? | Breathtaking Hypocrisy of Mersey Fire Authority | Firefighters to Strike Over Cuts | Area Commander Dan Stephens Betrays Merseysiders | Fire Scab Scandal | Eight Day Strike For Liverpool Lives | Day 1 of Mersey Fire Strike: Great Show of Solidarity | Day 2 of Mersey Fire Strike: Authority Calls On "Fantasy firefighters" | Day 3 of Mersey Fire Strike: FBU's Skarratts Blinks First | Day 4 of Mersey Fire Strike: More 'Negotiating' Amid Allegations | Day 5 of Mersey Fire Strike: Talks Break Down | Day 6 of Mersey Fire Strike: "We are not getting anywhere." | Day 7 of Mersey Fire Strike: More Delaying Tactics By Authority | Day 8 of Mersey Fire Strike: Scale of Cuts Confirmed | Day 9 of Mersey Fire Strike: FBU publish alternative cuts plan | Day 10 of Mersey Fire Strike: Yet More Strike Dates Promised | Day 11 of Mersey Fire Strike: Desperate Authority Makes False Accusations | Day 12 of Mersey Fire Strike: Massive March and Rally in Liverpool | Day 13 of Mersey Fire Strike: Negotiations Continue Following Rally | Day 16 of Mersey Fire Strike: Authority Claims "positive and constructive" Talks | Day 18 of Mersey Fire Strike: Compromise Seems Likely | Day 23 of Mersey Fire Strike: Authority Considers FBU Demands | Day 25 of Mersey Fire Strike: End in Sight Following 'Cordial' Talks? | Day 26 of Mersey Fire Strike: Back To Work As Union Agrees £3.5m 'Savings' | Details Of Merseyside Firefighters' Agreement
The dispute first got mainstream media attention in June, when Merseyside Fire Brigades Union representatives began meeting Fire Authority officials to protest against proposals to cut £3.5 million from the budget.
When Authority officials refused to budge, the FBU balloted its members about taking strike action. The result was announced in late August, with 71% of the 890 members who returned their ballot papers voting for strike action.
More than two weeks later, the Fire Authority had refused to back down, so firefighters were still on strike. The FBU held a massive march and rally in Liverpool city centre, at which around five thousand firefighters from around the country, assorted trade unionists and Liverpool-based well-wishers expressed their solidarity with the strikers.
On 29th September, after nearly four weeks of strike action against the to the Merseyside fire service, Fire Brigades Union negotiators agreed to implement £3.5 million of 'savings'. The details of these cuts can be read here.
We must recognise that it was the profit system that demanded these cuts, and the profit system that took the Territorial Army off to fight for control of oil, leaving Merseysiders with little cover during the strike. Working class people must unite, and organise to fight the profit system itself! We have a whole world to win!