Sixty years on from the Smithfield fire

The tragic Smithfield fire led to the deaths of two firefighters in 1958. It also kickstarted a union campaign to modernise the Breathing Apparatus. ARGUABLY the greatest ever achievement of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in the fight for firefighters' health and safety post-war has been the...

Fire Brigades Union turns 100

News

This year will mark 100 years since the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), the first and only UK trade union to champion the specific needs of all firefighters, was founded in 1918. Some 85% of all...

Help us to celebrate your union's 100th birthday

Many of you will by now know that next year, 2018, is your union’s 100th birthday. We are going to celebrate our centenary throughout the year, culminating in a special memorial event at Southwark Cathedral on Saturday 13 October, close to the formal date the union established itself on 1 October...

Challenge and opportunity

Francis Beckett explains how the War and the vision of its general secretary transformed the FBU The Second World War presented Britain’s fire service with its biggest ever challenge – to ensure the country survived a mass bombing campaign over its cities. The solution was to give the FBU its...

Nine weeks of struggle

The first national FBU strike in 1977 established a pay system that was to last decades. Helen Hague explains how and why Forty years ago , firefighters across the UK began their first national strike as anger over low pay bubbled up from the grassroots. The Labour government never really believed...

Burning skies

Helen Hague recalls ‘heroes with grimy faces’ who were also artists St Paul’s Cathedral stands proud and defiant against a red glowing sky as huge fires rage all around. A wall from a bombed-out building is collapsing as two firefighters stand in its shadow. A uniformed firefighter, eyes half shut...

Austerity: 1920s style

Attacks on workers’ pay after the First World War saw the Firemen’s Trade Union (FTU) going to court to stop a 20% cut, says Helen Hague In the aftermath of the First World War trade unions were deeply woven into national life. Wartime strikes had won pay rises and the government had even forced...

Pages