Firstly, I want to thank members for trusting me to continue as general secretary of our great union. It is a huge privilege and honour to serve the members of the FBU for a fourth term, and I am humbled to have received the highest proportion of votes (67%) in any FBU general secretary election. The result is loud, clear and decisive, and we must now unite around the policies of the union and take the fight to an anti-union, Tory majority government.
What I’ve enjoyed most about this campaign has been speaking to firefighters and control staff about the issues they are facing in workplaces. Up and down the country, members made their views clear – that enough is enough. Years of pay restraint have left firefighters struggling to make ends meet, and all while doing more work, for free. As your newly re-elected general secretary, I will take this fight to the government, across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It won’t be easy – a majority Tory government will make sure of that, but the strength of our members is unrivalled, and when we pull together, in the same direction, we can achieve wonders. Take pensions, it took years, but our perseverance paid off. I will continue to fight for your pensions, righting what was wronged and facing up to further attacks.
We are already starting to see the buds of anti-union rhetoric from the Tory government in Westminster. The recently published HMICFRS annual report is not shy about attacking our union and is undoubtedly a starting pistol for the fight ahead. Our union will need to remain strong and united to see off these attacks, on collective bargaining, work extra to contract and changes in law on industrial action.
I’m ready for the fight ahead and emboldened by the strong mandate to take forward our union’s policies.