Many of you will by now know that next year, 2018, is your union’s 100th birthday.
We are going to celebrate our centenary throughout the year, culminating in a special memorial event at Southwark Cathedral on Saturday 13 October, close to the formal date the union established itself on 1 October 1918.
We hope that all of our members, through their branches, will join in the celebrations by holding centenary events at stations.
A film on the union’s history is in production, to be narrated by the actor Sue Johnston, and we will be encouraging film showings across the union.
We also have a pictorially led book due for publication early next year on the history of the union.
There will be a special centenary extension to the website for all the historical material that is being prepared, including older members’ and officials’ recollections of firefighting and their union and stories about big fires that the FBU used to change safety legislation, that subsequently saved lives.
The centenary offers us the opportunity to take a long look down the road we have travelled in the last 100 years, and recognise our achievements from those dark days of living on stations with the continuous duty system, no holiday or sick pay, and no pensions.
We hope that celebrating our history as an independent industrial union will give us all the strength to continue to fight with vigour for fair pay and conditions, and for full and proper funding for the professional, world famous fire and rescue service we are all so proud of.
We hope that younger members in particular will grasp the opportunity being offered by the centenary. They are the future of the FBU.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish every single one of you a merry Christmas, and a very happy new year.