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Archive for November 4th, 2010

A Firefighter Explains It.

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We rarely hear the Firefighter’s side of this dispute, which could leave many of them sacked and an inferior service left, here’s one Firefighter’s view:

“I have built up this experience and knowledge by constantly learning and improving my skills within the job. Like everybody in every job, boredom and being stale can sometimes creep in, this very rarely happens when you are a Firefighter. You are constantly aware that in the next few minutes you can be putting your life at risk to save others.

It isn’t a statement to take lightly either, we have very good safeguards in place to protect us, but ultimately, we will risk our lives at no second thought for our own. That’s how it works as a Firefighter. That’s why I joined this service and we should never forget that.

Unfortunately, since the first day I walked into my first fire station-Kingston, we have had the threat of job insecurity hanging over our heads, rumours of shift changes have been hanging around longer than the five years quoted for negotiations. It isn’t a nice feeling either, knowing the reasons behind the changes when no public seem to know, is a really stressful time. We cannot be heard behind all the spin and lies. “

[My emphasis.]

Update 1: This video clip explains the use of scabs and the massive payment, some £12 million, made to the company providing them, AssetCo:

Update 2: This piece explains the poor state of training for the “Stand-in fire crews”:

“While the London Fire Brigade insists private AssetCo stand-in crews are fully prepared, the contrast between their training and that of a full-time firefighter is striking.

AssetCo staff receive two weeks of tuition, while the normal basic course – preceded by a battery of medical and personality tests – is 14 weeks, followed by three years of on the job probationary learning.

“It can’t be compared,” Dave Green, of the Fire Brigades Union, said. “Our members get two weeks just on using breathing apparatus.”

Update 3: It seems that the Chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, Brian Coleman, has received hospitality and a gift from the company providing strike breakers in the current dispute, Assetco:

“Tory Brian Coleman was wined and dined by the company he later hired to help break Monday’s strike by firefighters.

The fire chief also received a £350 Harvey Nichols Christmas hamper from AssetCo, just months before bosses signed a £12million deal to cover the strike.

London Fire Brigade’s register of gifts shows he was taken to dinner at plush restaurants by the firm’s chief John Shannon three times in the run-up to the deal.”

Update 4: Getting the Firefighter’s side of events is harder than it should be, but here’s a site with details of the dispute and proof of the proposed closure of Fire Stations at night.

Page 6 of this PDF document has the details.

Update 5: This is worthwhile reading, the Firefighters’ own comments on a thread from last month’s Evening Standard:

“Hello Vera, your comments deserve a reply. I clear around £1,900 a month as a Crew Manager. I pay 11% of my salary into my pension scheme. I agree with you that the army don’t earn enough. I do not part-time as i have a three year old to look after. After 18 years i am threatened with the sack if i do not give in to a bully who wants to ensure that i cannot get childcare for my son due to the length of my day shift. Its not quite as easy as it sounds to QUIT or RESIGN. Yes, what management are proposing is that bad, thats why we have no choice but to take action.
Posted by: Phil Jones | 10/10/2010 at 09:02 PM

Vera, ur view, albeit, missing the Point. Would hold weight if it didn’t come across as sour grapes that he didn’t get in to the fire service, due to our governments you would be hard pushed to find any job that didn’t have 20 ppl to go for it. Sounds like to me , your son should be in the army, he could then work hard for pittance, and undervalued by his government. You need to take the blinkers of Vera. We are all being ‘shafted’ FACT. As for this article, what a pointless waste of misinformed time spent, for a good wage no doubt.
Posted by: Lewis keeble | 10/10/2010 at 09:58 PM

Vera, ur view, albeit, missing the Point. Would hold weight if it didn’t come across as sour grapes that he didn’t get in to the fire service, due to our governments you would be hard pushed to find any job that didn’t have 20 ppl to go for it. Sounds like to me , your son should be in the army, he could then work hard for pittance, and undervalued by his government. You need to take the blinkers of Vera. We are all being ‘shafted’ FACT. As for this article, what a pointless waste of misinformed time spent, for a good wage no doubt.
Posted by: Lewis keeble | 10/10/2010 at 09:58 PM

Vera, Sour grapes? Do you work at all? What price would you you like to see firefighters be paid then? I am a serving firefighter, and have been for several years! With other commitments i dont do part time work. But this is out the question. We are not in dispute over money (your argument is all over money). If you were informed a little better you may realise this is all about how OUR managers are treating US, their employees! Unfairly, with the potential to reduce fire cover in the capital!!The Brigade is being run like a business, as if they’re trying to make money! Its a public service which needs to be maintained at a high level!
Cuts = People more at risk full stop. Would you be making those same comments if your lad managed to get into the Brigade?
I take my hat off to our brave soldiers! Now ask yourself, did they join for the money or for the job satisfaction and knowing they could make a difference?
I, like many other my colleauges joind the job to protect and help people in their time of need! I didnt join for the money! It was out the question for me!
Firefighters are called upon in the time of need, i dont think you really appreciate the extreme circumstances and intense pressure/temperatures we have to work in!
Posted by: Josh | 10/10/2010 at 10:12 PM”

Written by modernityblog

04/11/2010 at 18:49

Widerstand-Radio.

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Last night on World Service the BBC had a short piece on how German authorities had closed down a neo-Nazi internet radio station, which seems to have had a lot of listeners:

“German police have arrested 23 people suspected of being involved in an illegal far-right internet radio station.

About 270 officers took part in more than 20 raids across 10 German states.

Widerstands Radio (Resistance Radio) broadcasts music and ideology reflecting neo-Nazi views – something which is illegal in Germany.

Prosecutors say those held face charges of forming a criminal organisation and inciting racial hatred.

Police said the suspects were in their 20s and 30s and were believed to have broadcast on the station, or helped to organise the broadcasts.

The Federal Crime Office (BKA) said the 24-hour station used a computer server in the US and listeners would register under false names and addresses.

“[The] investigations are a strong hint to people running other extreme-right internet radio stations that dissemination of songs with extreme-right wing and xenophobic lyrics, even on the internet, will be pursued,” said BKA head Joerg Ziercke.

He said they had noticed a growing trend among far-right groups to use music to recruit young people.

Last month, the BKA said that over the past decade the number of people with the potential to carry out far-right violence in Germany had doubled to around 9,000.

It seems that it had 135,000 hits since last year. How depressing.

Written by modernityblog

04/11/2010 at 16:37