Unity is strength, and this key trade union principle was clearly recognised by the 11 new members from Portland fire station in Dorset, writes Dorset brigade organiser Scott Blandford.
I paid a visit to Portland, a retained fire station in Dorset, last December, to discuss FBU membership benefits and the negotiations over an ongoing review of a new retained salary scheme. The firefighters at Portland weren’t being represented and hadn’t been invited to join in the discussions with Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service over the new scheme.
Our local officials are working with service management to bring in a proposal for this new salary scheme, so I was able to help these firefighters understand the FBU’s involvement, and how membership could benefit them locally and nationally. The firefighters could see the benefits of being involved in the formal negotiations, and I had a flurry of new members apply on the night. The number of FBU members at the station rose from 2 to 11, and the station is now an FBU stronghold.
The new recruits have already experienced the benefits of FBU membership, after discussions with the fire service have resulted in Portland station being considered for a trial of the new salary scheme. This positive result encouraged another station to get in contact, and new members have already been recruited.
FBU is the only union which works for all its members, no matter whether whole-time or retained, and this has been recognised by these firefighters.