FBU condemns calls for retired firefighters to cover fire brigade strikes

Retired firefighters are being called upon to cover shifts of striking firefighters in Scotland, on a voluntary basis.

FBU, the Fire Brigade Union in the UK have rejected a 5% pay offer after a two-week ballot, resulting in a rejection vote of 79%.

Management at Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) are said to have written to retired firefighters on Friday last, 11th November, requesting them to cover shifts on strike days. The letter stated “The SFRS has a legal responsibility to provide an emergency response to protect the communities of Scotland.”

The letter also stated “In order to ensure the highest possible level of preparation and contingency planning for this potential industrial action, we are currently reviewing all options in order that, where possible, we can maintain provision of services and fire cover in line with our statutory duties. SFRS are requesting assistance from recently retired employees who may wish to support our available uniformed officers to provide the highest possible level of cover during proposed period of industrial action.”

A Scottish Fire & Rescue Service fire appliance. Photo: Declan Keogh @emergencytimes

The Fire Brigade Union has condemned the action by SFRS, saying it recognises the legal responsibility SCFRS have to provide an emergency response during industrial action, however, it is vital that members recognise that the use of resilience crews during strike action undermines the effectiveness of firefighters, fighting for a fair and meaningful pay increase in the midst of a cost of living crisis.

FBU’s Scottish Secretary John McKenzie said: “The FBU condemns in the strongest terms such divide and rule tactics being deployed, which amount to calling on retired firefighters to cross picket lines and undermine industrial action.”