Dear Brother and Sisters,
Further to 2006HOC0491MW I have received a letter from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority threatening legal action on the basis that they thought the Circular was calling upon members to carry out unlawful picketing in Merseyside.
This is, of course, completely wrong and is just the sort of aggressive, erratic behaviour members in Merseyside have had to put up with and which has led to this dispute. Rather than running to their lawyers, the Fire Authority should concentrate on resolving the dispute.
Members will fully appreciate that this Union does not endorse unlawful picketing and will be familiar with the legal provisions which limit picketing to members' own workplaces - officials can picket the workplace of members he/she accompanies and represents under FBU Rules.
As previously outlined, members from other Brigades are assured of a warm welcome on the picket lines in Merseyside but you will be fully aware that you are not permitted to join the picket itself. Individually or with another member or official you may speak to the pickets for a few minutes to deliver messages of support and show solidarity but may not participate in the picket and any longer discussion should be held away from the picket to avoid any difficulties.
Members in Merseyside and elsewhere should be familiar with and comply with the Code of Practice on Picketing. Merseyside members should seek advice from Merseyside Officials. Members from other parts of the country may wish to look at the information on the Code of Practice which is on the world-wide web. An example is the following link to the DTI website . In particular, members will be fully familiar with the limit of 6 pickets which should generally be applied and with other provisions to avoid obstructions or disruption to the service.
If in any doubt, contact Merseyside FBU.