For the first time in over a decade firefighters from across the United Kingdom who are members of the Fire Brigades Union have decided not to march with London Fire Brigade (LFB) at Pride 2011. It was with regret that firefighters felt it necessary to take this stance.
The decision was made following a year of regression by London Fire Brigade on LGBT issues. The first indication of problems came with LFB’s decision to withdraw from the Stonewall Equality Index then followed successive disengagement with LGBT staff representatives and the LGBT community. Repeated attempts to engage in meaningful discussion have fallen on deaf ears and progress on a raft of LGBT issues has stagnated.
Pat Carberry LGBT Secretary said “It is unfortunate that our members have been pushed into having to make this choice. In the past we have worked closely with London Fire Brigade and that joint working approach has brought about improvement to working conditions for our LGBT members and an improvement in the service we provide to the LGBT community. It now seems equality no-longer features in the services commitment. It would be wrong of us to march alongside this organisation promoting a visual front that the service is committed to serving our community when in reality no progress is being made and if anything its actually getting worse.”
LGBT members of the service travel to London from across the United Kingdom to march in London Pride showing pride in their identity as well as in the service they work for. Members attending this year will now march under their union banner in the trade union section of the parade. Pat Carberry went on to say “The last year has seen a bitter industrial dispute in London, but when disputes reach a resolution we would hope for reconciliation. It is worrying that we are unable to sit round a table to discuss areas we supposedly agree on and gives little hope for discussions on the more contentious issues. Next year we will see London host World Pride and I would hope that London Fire Brigade will recognise that the best way for us to make such events a success is by joint working and that we can still re-establish a dialogue”.
Pat Carberry – LGBT Committee Secretary 07947 157869