Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) have been in dispute with the government for 3 years after it decided to tear up pensions agreements and leave firefighters and their families on the scrap heap. This lead recently to members of the FBU in England and Wales to ballot for and take its first industrial strike action since 2002. This is only the third time that the FBU and its members have taken this last resort action in 40 years.
During the recent periods of strike action, the longest of which has been 6 hours (with exception of the odd fire service who have intentionally locked their staff out for additional hours) the mainstream media has bombarded the airwaves with questions and concerns over the risk the public is put under during these times, yet today saw the closure of 10 fire stations and the loss of almost 600 jobs in London after the Mayor Boris Johnson, finally got his way by railroading through his cuts agenda, in assistance with his hatchet man James Cleverly and yet we have had virtually no real concerns raised by our media on these issues. These closures will lead to increased response times for the people who live in these areas but that was of no concern to Boris or James at Mayors Questions in 2013. NO concern for the exponential growth of fire and the importance of attendance times, NO concern for the ‘golden hour’ for the transference to definitive medical care and NO concern for the truth that firefighters in 2014 attend much more than just fires as the recent floodings and building collapse at the Apollo theatre in London (3 of the 8 fire stations involved in rescues closed this morning) have highlighted.
Message from one of the stations that closed this morning
Another point of interest is that it is not uncommon to see Twitter feeds calling for people to #takeextracare when the FBU and its members are on strike, yet when you (Boris Johnson) ignore the democratic process (94% of people opposed the closures) and close 10 stations and cut nearly 600 jobs, you see nothing. No message about the need to take extra care, which poses the question of what is the BIGGEST risk to public safety? The odd strike here and there to save firefighters and their families futures and their long-term vision to protect the safety of both themselves and the public? Or is it ideological cuts which affect everyone, every minute of every day…?
Nothing posted today regards being extra vigilant now your station is gone
Our media work hard in the interest of government to frame the agenda, highlighting risks, demonising and scapegoating the poor and immigrants and yet when a very real abuse of democracy takes place, we are left with only our own means to express and share the scale of what has happened. 4 million Londoners just got thrown overboard by Boris Johnson and this government and sat down at a roulette table – where is the media?