Press releases 2010

London firefighters vote to accept shift patterns offer

London firefighters have voted to accept the  latest offer, arrived at after mediation by the Resolution Advisory Panel, of 10 ½ hour day shifts and 13 ½ hour night shifts.

The FBU executive member for London, Ian Leahair, said today: “We’re pleased, of course, that a sensible compromise has been achieved.  This was always our objective.  I wish it could have been achieved without the foolishly dramatic threat to sack all London firefighters, which led to two one-day strikes.

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Make Fire Authorities responsible for flood response, says Fire Brigades Union

The Fire Brigades Union welcomed today’s recommendation of the House of Commons Environment Committee, that all fire and rescue services should have a duty to prepare for floods and to respond to them.

“The government should now change the law accordingly, and give fire and rescue services the resources to respond to floods” said assistant general secretary Andy Dark. 

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Suffolk council steams ahead with closure plan

Without any prior public consultation, Suffolk county councillors have rushed through plans to sell-off the Ipswich fire control centre and get emergency fire calls answered outside the county – on the same day the Government killed off deeply-flawed plans to introduce Regional fire control centres throughout England.

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FBU welcomes decision to scrap regional fire control project

The release of a written ministerial statement by Fire Minister Bob Neill announcing the end of the FiReControl project was welcomed by the Fire Brigades Union in the North East. The project that would have seen the four local emergency fire control rooms close and replaced with one regional call centre in Durham has been terminated with immediate effect following acceptance by government and the main contractor Cassidian (formerly EADS) that the requirements of the project cannot be met. This decision follows years of delays and missed deadlines, together with spiralling costs.

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Scrapping of FiReControl project “long overdue” says Fire Brigades Union

Following today’s announcement by the fire minister, Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary said: “I welcome this decision – it’s long overdue. For seven years the Fire Brigades Union has been sounding the alarm about this project, often as a lone voice, and this decision shows that we were right. While the project was going on, staff in emergency fire control have been treated appallingly, and I hope that, at long last, their security of employment can be confirmed.” more »

Union Embraces Social Media to Fight Cuts in Fire Service

Suffolk firefighters are harnessing the power of social networking to fight proposed cuts to the county’s fire and rescue service. The cuts threaten to compromise public safety.

The “Stop the Suffolk Fire Service Cuts” Facebook page, set up by the Fire Brigades Union officials, aims to keep Suffolk citizens informed – and help galvanise opposition to wide-ranging cuts.

Under the cuts proposals:

  • Suffolk County Council would no longer provide a full-time fire crew in Felixstowe – home of the largest container port in Europe.
  • Haverhill – one of the fastest-growing towns in the UK – with over 4,000 new homes due to be built – would lose full-time fire crews at weekends.
  • The county’s Turntable ladders, used for high rise rescues and safe access to roof fires – including thatched cottages – would no longer be available at all times. The Turntable ladder in Ipswich will no longer have a guaranteed crew.   

Andy Vingoe, Suffolk FBU Brigade Chair said: “These cuts will affect everybody in the county. There will be a public consultation in the New Year – and people need to know the facts. That’s why we’ve set up the Facebook page. It’s a 21st century weapon in our armoury in fighting the cuts. We hope the site will encourage more people to get involved, speak out, lobby councillors and defend a vital frontline service”. 

The site, which has just gone live, pulls together publicly available information, links to web sites and provides a forum for the public to join with firefighters in defending the fire service from dangerous and unwarranted cuts.



Andy Vingoe Brigade Chair 07967 041039

Andy Message (Acting) Brigade Secretary 07967 040909

Humberside firefighters to march in protest against cuts

On Saturday 11 December at 1200 noon, Fire Brigades Union members from Humberside will march around the city of Hull in protest of proposed cuts that threaten to decimate front line services if agreed by Humberside Fire Authority members in January. The march will begin and end at Queens Gardens and culminate with speeches from General Secretary of the FBU, Matt Wrack and local politicians.

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FBU support for student protests

The FBU’s executive council has issued the following statement:

The FBU condemns the proposals from the government to triple university tuition fees, axe the education maintenance allowance and reduce state support for teaching of undergraduates by 80%.

These proposals are an attack on the right of ordinary families to seek to better themselves and will price many hundreds of thousands of youngsters out of education. Our country’s future depends on being a high skill, high wage economy and not on conducting a race to the bottom.

In opposing the cuts we agree to encourage all members to attend the rally and candlit vigil organised by UCU and NUS to coincide with the vote on tuition fees at 3pm on Thursday 9 December.

Suffolk Fire Crews Warn of Legal Action if Plans to Close Suffolk’s only Emergency Fire Control are Rushed Through

Tomorrow (Tuesday 7th December), fire chiefs will be urging County Councillors to vote through controversial plans to close and sell-off Suffolk’s only emergency fire control room without any prior public consultation. The Fire Brigades Union is preparing legal action if they do.

Suffolk’s fire crews are calling upon the Councillors to step back and reconsider the needs of the Suffolk communities before they take the decision to close the 999 control room based at Colchester Road Fire Station.

The plans are to be voted on tomorrow at Endeavour House in Ipswich by a meeting of the Suffolk County Council Cabinet which consists of only 10 Council portfolio holders rather than the full County Council. The FBU are also calling for a full public consultation exercise so that the people of Suffolk can have their say before their democratically elected councillors vote for or against it.

Adrian Clarke Regional Secretary FBU East Anglia said:

“The Emergency Fire Control is at the heart of our 999 service and is the starting place for our fire & rescue response to every 999 call in Suffolk. We believe these plans will detrimentally affect the way we deliver our life-saving service and the people and tax-payers of Suffolk should be allowed their say before any decisions are taken – after all they are the ones who will dial 999 next time they are in trouble and it is their lives that will depend on our response.

Andy Vingoe Suffolk FBU Chair said:

“Everyone is saying no cuts to frontline services and the fire service is the frontline of the frontline. A firefighter saving someone’s life comes at the end of a chain of events. The firefighter at the end of the chain gets the praise but it is the firefighters in the emergency control room  who are the first to start dealing with the 999 call, they are the ones that mobilize the fire crews, who stay on the line to support and advise terrified people trapped by fire and keeping them safe until the fire crews arrive at the scene and take over. Break the chain and the life is lost!”

Andy Message Suffolk FBU Secretary said:

“This is a decision based on finance, not on safety. Frontline firefighters are not convinced at the claim that moving how our calls are handled, and all the associated computer technology that goes with it, will not impact on public or Firefighter safety. Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service (SF&RS) has had it’s finances squeezed for years and is already the cheapest Fire & Rescue Service in the UK with our frontline fire crews already spread very thinly across the County. We are concerned that this cut is the start of even more to come, compromising the safety of the residents of Suffolk, and the Firefighters that serve them.

I strongly urge the public to ask why they have not been consulted on this issue, and ask SF&RS to publicise what COULD go wrong if they carry out this move”.



Adrian Clarke 07917017713

Andy Vingoe 07967041039

Andy Message 07840384655

Humberside Firefighters Mount Campaign to Fight 170 Emergency Front Line Firefighter Cuts

Fire Brigades Union members from Humberside begin a united campaign to fight 170 job cuts to emergency front line firefighter posts that will decimate frontline 999 services.

The proposals can only mean a reduction of the current standards in Humberside Fire and Rescue Service and mean delays in fire appliances attending emergency calls. This will put the lives of the public and the safety of firefighters at increased risk.

Pete Smith FBU Regional Secretary said:

“Humberside Fire and Rescue Service has released its draft IRMP for consultation which threatens public and firefighter safety by the removal of operational firefighters from front line appliances, including specialist engines. This will mean that more appliances will be needed at incidents to ensure the required numbers of firefighters are in attendance to perform rescues, fight fires and do it in a safe manner. Where will these required appliances come from? They will have to be called from neighboring stations or further afield, which will result in delays, when time is most critical. This will also mean that fire cover will be stripped from the station areas where the extra fire appliances have been called from. This is a dangerous scenario which may ultimately cost lives.

The public like to feel safe in the knowledge that a fire engine is only a few minutes away if they were unfortunate enough to have to call 999, however these proposals will have a detrimental affect on how quickly crews can respond. These proposals are still in the consultation stage and the Fire Brigades Union urges all members of the public to write to the Chief Fire Officer or use the questionnaire on Humberside Fire and Rescue Service website , to lodge their opposition to these cost cutting threats to safety.”


For more information contact:

Pete Smith – Regional Secretary 07974101435

Richard Walker – Brigade Secretary 07980644646

Neil Trenchard – Brigade Chair 07968071850

Rob Vaux – Membership Sec 07888704597