Facing attacks on collective bargaining

Year: 2018  (Resolution no: Emergency motion)

Nominating section: West Midlands

Policy text:

Conference notes the ongoing attacks that members in the West Midlands are currently facing in their trade dispute, which includes the imposition of non-NJC compliant contracts, imposition of work on Control members outside the role map, dictatorial management and interference with trade union activities. Conference condemns these attacks on collective bargaining and on the rights of FBU members in the West Midlands.

Conference is alarmed that the Labour controlled fire authority and the senior management of WMFS are attacking FBU members’ ability to collectively bargain, undermining the nationally agreed role maps, circumnavigating the NJC and showing complete disregard for FBU officials.

Conference also recognises that FBU members in the West Midlands are on the frontline of a new wave of attacks on firefighters by using contracts of employment as a tool to unilaterally change the role of a firefighter and control firefighter. This approach, if adopted, would allow senior management or the fire authority to unilaterally impose further changes to work activity, either now or in the future.

Conference congratulates FBU members in the West Midlands on the ballot result showing 90% in favour of strike action on an 82% turnout. This is a clear indication of the anger felt by West Midlands members. The ballot turnout is applauded and Conference notes that the thresholds imposed by the Conservatives under the recent Trade Union Act, designed to restrict workers in essential services from organising trade disputes and industrial action, proved to be no obstacle whatsoever.

Conference condemns the treatment of members in the West Midlands and sends a clear message to the Fire Authority that an attack on one FBU member is an attack on all. This is an attack on our members’ rights as trade unionists and threatens our collective bargaining at a national level. Conference agrees that the Fire Authority, through their actions, have not only launched an assault on our members in the West Midlands, but have launched an assault on the FBU at a national level.

In response to the ballot result, officials were made aware on 2nd June that the Fire Authority executive are meeting on 5th June to assess their options and will need to address our concerns raised in the trade dispute or face escalation of action.

Conference offers complete support and solidarity to West Midlands members and agrees that Brigade Committees will mobilise members at every level to support them through this trade dispute by any means necessary.

Conference instructs the EC to provide any resources and support to the West Midlands that are required during this vital dispute.

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