Brigade union claim firefighters are 'locked out' of work in Bucks during strike row

Brigade union claim firefighters are 'locked out' of work in Bucks during strike row

Brigade union claim firefighters are 'locked out' of work in Bucks during strike row

First published in News
Last updated
Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

FIREFIGHTERS are being "locked out" of stations this week in Bucks as strike action takes place leading to a "substantially reduced" service, a union secretary said.

But a fire boss has said striking firefighters are free to return to work whenever they want, although due to a contractual clause they would be unpaid.

Strike action is taking place across England and Wales over proposed government changes to firefighters' pension arrangements.

The national action is for three hours out of every 24 from 9am last Saturday to 9am this Sunday.

But in Bucks, firefighters have been told that if they choose to strike for three hours, they will not be paid for the other hours they work, which has left a reduced service over the eight days and which union bosses said mean firefighters are "locked out".

Buckinghamshire Fire Brigade's Union’s regional secretary, James Wolfenden, said: "Out of 46 fire authorities in England and Wales only Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Fire Authority (BFRS) have taken the decision to lock out.

"This strike action totals 24 hours. The period for which wholetime firefighters will be locked out totals 168 hours or seven days. Buckinghamshire residents will have substantially reduced fire cover for an additional seven days."

Due to the cost implications of making alternative provision of services, BFRS adopt the position that it does not accept partial performance of contract by any member of staff.

Jason Thelwell, acting chief fire officer, said: "In December 2013, BFRS made a democratic decision not to accept ‘part shift’ performance from staff.

"There is not and never has been a ‘lock-out’ of any staff. All firefighters are welcome to work at any time they wish. Many of our staff have chosen to ‘walk out’ during the rest of their shifts, when part-shift performance is not being accepted."

He said during the two most recent periods of strike action in July, local agreement was reached with the FBU which mitigated the effect of the strikes both to the public, firefighters and other staff. No such agreement has been reached on this occasion as yet.

In a fire authority meeting document it said during a strike on September 25, BFRS achieved the staffing of 17 appliances, an aerial appliance, water carrier, incident response unit and urban search and rescue appliances by efficiently utilising those staff available.

The service normally has 42 frontline and specialist fire and rescue vehicles and four urban search and rescue vehicles.

On Monday night at 6.37pm assistance was requested to Hayes firefighters to attend a television damaged by lightning strike at a house in St James Walk, Iver.

But as stated on the London FBU website they decided not to attend: "As we have previously advised, London FBU members should not cross the border to attend incidents in Buckinghamshire until the lockout ends on August 16.

"For its part, the brigade maintains that it will continue to mobilise London firefighters into Buckinghamshire. But in a recent email to all staff, the commissioner gave assurances that this would only happen ‘where there was an identified risk to life or an incident that met the definition of major incident’."

The BFRS website said one appliance and crew attended the incident.

Mr Thelwell added: "Our contingency arrangement have been in place since Saturday. We have a reduced response capability during any period of industrial action.

"However, we would like to reassure the public that our contingency arrangements are such that, should they ring 999, they will receive the appropriate response."

Comments (24)

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3:45pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Scarletto says...

Much as we all praise firefighters for their work occasionally going into dangerous conditions or attending awful pile-ups, we also have to come to terms with the fact that most of the time their working day is "cushy" with much sitting around and an ever decreasing number of call-outs. Police and ambulance crews are always on the run to cope with demands while firefighters spend a lot of the time downing mugs of tea, bacon butties, watching TV and reading. Wycombe residents should be flies on the wall at the town's station to see what really goes on.
The number of 999 calls to the fire service has reduced a lot in recent years. Usually very many hours of sitting around waiting for calls and quite a few of those are just false alarms or minor incidents.
It's a fact folks, and an operative who till recently worked for the Bucks fire service confirmed it. No comparison with police and ambulance stresses, they said. They also have a rather stroppy union and muddled weak admin at HQ and county hall.
And of course by absenting themselves from their duties on strike they put people at risk because of likely slower attendances to 999 incidents. Lives and property are put at risk.
We should thank firefighters for their very occasional brave duties but compared with many other jobs theirs is a bit of a doddle. They should stop complaining, be grateful for their job situation and generally face reality. Sorry James Wolfenden but you must be more realistic and fair. So there....
Much as we all praise firefighters for their work occasionally going into dangerous conditions or attending awful pile-ups, we also have to come to terms with the fact that most of the time their working day is "cushy" with much sitting around and an ever decreasing number of call-outs. Police and ambulance crews are always on the run to cope with demands while firefighters spend a lot of the time downing mugs of tea, bacon butties, watching TV and reading. Wycombe residents should be flies on the wall at the town's station to see what really goes on. The number of 999 calls to the fire service has reduced a lot in recent years. Usually very many hours of sitting around waiting for calls and quite a few of those are just false alarms or minor incidents. It's a fact folks, and an operative who till recently worked for the Bucks fire service confirmed it. No comparison with police and ambulance stresses, they said. They also have a rather stroppy union and muddled weak admin at HQ and county hall. And of course by absenting themselves from their duties on strike they put people at risk because of likely slower attendances to 999 incidents. Lives and property are put at risk. We should thank firefighters for their very occasional brave duties but compared with many other jobs theirs is a bit of a doddle. They should stop complaining, be grateful for their job situation and generally face reality. Sorry James Wolfenden but you must be more realistic and fair. So there.... Scarletto
  • Score: -20

4:16pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Station Officer Steele says...

Dear Scarletto
Thank you for bringing to people attention of the 'cushy' lives that firefighter lead.

However please be rest assured that I do not encourage such cushy-ness at High Wycombe Fire Station.
Yes mugs of tea are downed frequently, please tell me a job where this doesn't happen? And some of the watches may eat bacon sandwiches but the public can rest easy that these activities are only within the official tea breaks as defined in law.
I will personally put anyone on a 'fizer' who is caught eating a sandwich outside these times.

TV and reading I admit also takes place within the lunch hour and stand - down time of the 15 hour nightshift.

With regards to our decreasing call-outs you are correct. People are more risk aware and safer these days. But do not fear I keep my chaps busy when there are no call outs here is a rough idea of what they do when not saving damsels in distress:

Carry out station routines and fire engine/equipment checks

Practise, or as we call it drill, on all of the various pieces of equipment carried on modern fire engines

Carry out inspections on public buildings, factories etc

Randomly knock on people's doors to offer and fit free smoke detectors

It all makes for a busy day I can tell you! Certainly no time for "sitting around for hours waiting for calls to come in" as you state.

In regards to their pension the chaps and chap'ettes' are only fighting for what they were promised when they joined.
Is that such a bad thing?
Or are we all happy these days to roll over and take a shafting?

Tell me Scarletto would you fight for something worthwhile and important to you or would you just say hay-ho I shall stop complaining and carry on and be grateful for my job?

Stay safe

S.O. Steele
Dear Scarletto Thank you for bringing to people attention of the 'cushy' lives that firefighter lead. However please be rest assured that I do not encourage such cushy-ness at High Wycombe Fire Station. Yes mugs of tea are downed frequently, please tell me a job where this doesn't happen? And some of the watches may eat bacon sandwiches but the public can rest easy that these activities are only within the official tea breaks as defined in law. I will personally put anyone on a 'fizer' who is caught eating a sandwich outside these times. TV and reading I admit also takes place within the lunch hour and stand - down time of the 15 hour nightshift. With regards to our decreasing call-outs you are correct. People are more risk aware and safer these days. But do not fear I keep my chaps busy when there are no call outs here is a rough idea of what they do when not saving damsels in distress: Carry out station routines and fire engine/equipment checks Practise, or as we call it drill, on all of the various pieces of equipment carried on modern fire engines Carry out inspections on public buildings, factories etc Randomly knock on people's doors to offer and fit free smoke detectors It all makes for a busy day I can tell you! Certainly no time for "sitting around for hours waiting for calls to come in" as you state. In regards to their pension the chaps and chap'ettes' are only fighting for what they were promised when they joined. Is that such a bad thing? Or are we all happy these days to roll over and take a shafting? Tell me Scarletto would you fight for something worthwhile and important to you or would you just say hay-ho I shall stop complaining and carry on and be grateful for my job? Stay safe S.O. Steele Station Officer Steele
  • Score: 41

5:38pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Scarletto says...

Ta Mr Steele. Interested to read your comments but I persist in levelling my description/comments above as generally accurate.
There's only so much time that can be spent washing down an appliance and checking on its readiness etc. And drills don't last too long.
The personnel actually on watch are obviously not going out and about inspecting buildings and knocking on doors offering to fit alarms. Others do that. The watch crews have to be ready to steam out within a minute or two if a shout comes in.
As for the pension element I have to part concede you and your chums might have a point but the job overall has some quite good perks. Many leave the service on pensions while fit and well before 65 and find other work and even in service it's often been traditional to do a bit of carpet laying, window cleaning etc etc.
Anyway, good luck to you all. I hope you will wring a better deal from the under-financed Bucks budget which has huge pressing demands for better social services, care of the elderly and ill, education, highways etc. Some of these are in semi-crisis need of extra dosh.
Priorities for those key services have to stacked up against possible extra funding for the fire and rescue service. (Not sure the library service should get much priority however as most of us are reading books from other sources such as the book shops or charity shops. Library visits have really dropped).
Oops, now I can expect snorting retorts from librarians.....
We perhaps need less funding (sadly) for foreign aid, armed excursions into other warring countries, huge pay for senior fat cats in the public services and general wastefulness. Our precious NHS is falling apart too. Come back Wycombe's closed A&E dept., for example.
Tat-ta for now.....
Ta Mr Steele. Interested to read your comments but I persist in levelling my description/comments above as generally accurate. There's only so much time that can be spent washing down an appliance and checking on its readiness etc. And drills don't last too long. The personnel actually on watch are obviously not going out and about inspecting buildings and knocking on doors offering to fit alarms. Others do that. The watch crews have to be ready to steam out within a minute or two if a shout comes in. As for the pension element I have to part concede you and your chums might have a point but the job overall has some quite good perks. Many leave the service on pensions while fit and well before 65 and find other work and even in service it's often been traditional to do a bit of carpet laying, window cleaning etc etc. Anyway, good luck to you all. I hope you will wring a better deal from the under-financed Bucks budget which has huge pressing demands for better social services, care of the elderly and ill, education, highways etc. Some of these are in semi-crisis need of extra dosh. Priorities for those key services have to stacked up against possible extra funding for the fire and rescue service. (Not sure the library service should get much priority however as most of us are reading books from other sources such as the book shops or charity shops. Library visits have really dropped). Oops, now I can expect snorting retorts from librarians..... We perhaps need less funding (sadly) for foreign aid, armed excursions into other warring countries, huge pay for senior fat cats in the public services and general wastefulness. Our precious NHS is falling apart too. Come back Wycombe's closed A&E dept., for example. Tat-ta for now..... Scarletto
  • Score: -21

6:02pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Station Officer Steele says...

Thank you, but again I feel the need to pick you up on a couple of inaccuracies. Here's the first:

"The personnel actually on watch are obviously not going out and about inspecting buildings and knocking on doors offering to fit alarms. Others do that. "

Partly correctly, yes others do that, (fire safety dept) but the crews at station also do this.
My crews can arrive unannounced at public venues and carry out inspections to ensure members of the public are safe. They also carry familiarisation visits of the larger risks within the Wycombe area, eg West Wycombe House or RAF Naphill to name 2 of about 25. They also visit the lower risk buildings eg ones on Cressex Industrial Estate.

They also spend many a happy hour in the afternoon and weekends visiting the fine characters of High Wycombe in their homes fitting smoke detectors. At last count over a 1000 in the last year.


Let me assit you on this comment:

"The watch crews have to be ready to steam out within a minute or two if a shout comes in."

We have the latest in mobile communications within our fire engines, this allows us to roam the streets of Wycombe carrying out the above whilst being able to respond to whatever exciting call may come in.

Please move away from the opinion that my crews sit around all day drinking tea and eating as this is not correct. It's only due official tea breaks and lunch as perviously mentioned.

Finally the Fire Service is not receiving extra funding, funding is actually being cut quite significantly. But that's another BFP story.

I agree the last couple of paragraphs of your comment though.....

All the best

Station O Steele
Thank you, but again I feel the need to pick you up on a couple of inaccuracies. Here's the first: "The personnel actually on watch are obviously not going out and about inspecting buildings and knocking on doors offering to fit alarms. Others do that. " Partly correctly, yes others do that, (fire safety dept) but the crews at station also do this. My crews can arrive unannounced at public venues and carry out inspections to ensure members of the public are safe. They also carry familiarisation visits of the larger risks within the Wycombe area, eg West Wycombe House or RAF Naphill to name 2 of about 25. They also visit the lower risk buildings eg ones on Cressex Industrial Estate. They also spend many a happy hour in the afternoon and weekends visiting the fine characters of High Wycombe in their homes fitting smoke detectors. At last count over a 1000 in the last year. Let me assit you on this comment: "The watch crews have to be ready to steam out within a minute or two if a shout comes in." We have the latest in mobile communications within our fire engines, this allows us to roam the streets of Wycombe carrying out the above whilst being able to respond to whatever exciting call may come in. Please move away from the opinion that my crews sit around all day drinking tea and eating as this is not correct. It's only due official tea breaks and lunch as perviously mentioned. Finally the Fire Service is not receiving extra funding, funding is actually being cut quite significantly. But that's another BFP story. I agree the last couple of paragraphs of your comment though..... All the best Station O Steele Station Officer Steele
  • Score: 27

6:12pm Wed 13 Aug 14

sparky49 says...

Scarletto wrote:
Much as we all praise firefighters for their work occasionally going into dangerous conditions or attending awful pile-ups, we also have to come to terms with the fact that most of the time their working day is "cushy" with much sitting around and an ever decreasing number of call-outs. Police and ambulance crews are always on the run to cope with demands while firefighters spend a lot of the time downing mugs of tea, bacon butties, watching TV and reading. Wycombe residents should be flies on the wall at the town's station to see what really goes on.
The number of 999 calls to the fire service has reduced a lot in recent years. Usually very many hours of sitting around waiting for calls and quite a few of those are just false alarms or minor incidents.
It's a fact folks, and an operative who till recently worked for the Bucks fire service confirmed it. No comparison with police and ambulance stresses, they said. They also have a rather stroppy union and muddled weak admin at HQ and county hall.
And of course by absenting themselves from their duties on strike they put people at risk because of likely slower attendances to 999 incidents. Lives and property are put at risk.
We should thank firefighters for their very occasional brave duties but compared with many other jobs theirs is a bit of a doddle. They should stop complaining, be grateful for their job situation and generally face reality. Sorry James Wolfenden but you must be more realistic and fair. So there....
If it's that cushy go and join them. People like you make me sick, you moan because you believe some body else is getting more than you, yet you would not do the job. They are paid for there knowledge when required.
Would you like to turn up at a RTA and deal with dead bodies sometimes children and then go home after your days work.
Firefighters deserve their pay and protected pension.
Simple put up or shut up.
[quote][p][bold]Scarletto[/bold] wrote: Much as we all praise firefighters for their work occasionally going into dangerous conditions or attending awful pile-ups, we also have to come to terms with the fact that most of the time their working day is "cushy" with much sitting around and an ever decreasing number of call-outs. Police and ambulance crews are always on the run to cope with demands while firefighters spend a lot of the time downing mugs of tea, bacon butties, watching TV and reading. Wycombe residents should be flies on the wall at the town's station to see what really goes on. The number of 999 calls to the fire service has reduced a lot in recent years. Usually very many hours of sitting around waiting for calls and quite a few of those are just false alarms or minor incidents. It's a fact folks, and an operative who till recently worked for the Bucks fire service confirmed it. No comparison with police and ambulance stresses, they said. They also have a rather stroppy union and muddled weak admin at HQ and county hall. And of course by absenting themselves from their duties on strike they put people at risk because of likely slower attendances to 999 incidents. Lives and property are put at risk. We should thank firefighters for their very occasional brave duties but compared with many other jobs theirs is a bit of a doddle. They should stop complaining, be grateful for their job situation and generally face reality. Sorry James Wolfenden but you must be more realistic and fair. So there....[/p][/quote]If it's that cushy go and join them. People like you make me sick, you moan because you believe some body else is getting more than you, yet you would not do the job. They are paid for there knowledge when required. Would you like to turn up at a RTA and deal with dead bodies sometimes children and then go home after your days work. Firefighters deserve their pay and protected pension. Simple put up or shut up. sparky49
  • Score: 30

7:44pm Wed 13 Aug 14

maccapaka says...

If you have have ever had a fire Scarletto, then you might be more appreciative of the fire service. I have, and the fire engine (and firefighters) attended within minutes of the 999 call being made. They also prevented my fire (my, because it's quite personal really), from damaging anything other than the kitchen. Lucky me I think. But in your warped world they obviously grumbled and groaned as they had to leave their cups of tea and bacon rolls and put Jeremy Kyle on hold to come and sort out a fire. Whatever next? So I fully appreciate the fact that they are there, ready and waiting, cos it might be your turn next Scarletto. Be afraid, be very afraid cos the speed you must be going on your keyboard suggests to me that you will either get friction burns (ambulance) or your computer that you hide behind will suddenly burst into flames (fire engine), and if the latter happened then I hope you would take a more understanding view of the job they do, and the knowledge they have to gain to carry out their particular roles in the community.

Oh I almost forgot. if your employer decided to change the terms of your pension agreement, which you signed up to when you joined the service, I think you might be a little annoyed (polite word that) as well. Perhaps in your life these sort of things don't affect you, but if they did I think your attitude would be more understanding of the fire fighters case.
If you have have ever had a fire Scarletto, then you might be more appreciative of the fire service. I have, and the fire engine (and firefighters) attended within minutes of the 999 call being made. They also prevented my fire (my, because it's quite personal really), from damaging anything other than the kitchen. Lucky me I think. But in your warped world they obviously grumbled and groaned as they had to leave their cups of tea and bacon rolls and put Jeremy Kyle on hold to come and sort out a fire. Whatever next? So I fully appreciate the fact that they are there, ready and waiting, cos it might be your turn next Scarletto. Be afraid, be very afraid cos the speed you must be going on your keyboard suggests to me that you will either get friction burns (ambulance) or your computer that you hide behind will suddenly burst into flames (fire engine), and if the latter happened then I hope you would take a more understanding view of the job they do, and the knowledge they have to gain to carry out their particular roles in the community. Oh I almost forgot. if your employer decided to change the terms of your pension agreement, which you signed up to when you joined the service, I think you might be a little annoyed (polite word that) as well. Perhaps in your life these sort of things don't affect you, but if they did I think your attitude would be more understanding of the fire fighters case. maccapaka
  • Score: 26

8:53pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Member of the public 3 says...

It makes my blood boil when I hear people say that firefighters sit around drinking tea, watching TV, playing snooker etc!!! As stated by station officer Steele, all this is done during their breaks which is law!!! I have known a firefighter for many years and he only told me a few weeks ago that he has a scrapbook of all the nasty sights he has seen during his 28 years of service, upon hearing this I did find it strange that he would have this, until he told me this scrapbook is in his head and is there all the time!!! I wonder how many people have these,it's certainly not one you can close and put away on the book shelf eh, it's with him at all times. I admire our wonderful firefighters, they do an amazing job and are only fighting for what is rightfully theirs!!!!
It makes my blood boil when I hear people say that firefighters sit around drinking tea, watching TV, playing snooker etc!!! As stated by station officer Steele, all this is done during their breaks which is law!!! I have known a firefighter for many years and he only told me a few weeks ago that he has a scrapbook of all the nasty sights he has seen during his 28 years of service, upon hearing this I did find it strange that he would have this, until he told me this scrapbook is in his head and is there all the time!!! I wonder how many people have these,it's certainly not one you can close and put away on the book shelf eh, it's with him at all times. I admire our wonderful firefighters, they do an amazing job and are only fighting for what is rightfully theirs!!!! Member of the public 3
  • Score: 23

9:13pm Wed 13 Aug 14

chalky928 says...

Reduced cover ??? I hear its only 4 engines for the whole county ? I hope who is making decisions realizes lives are at risk. (both sides no politics here !!)
Reduced cover ??? I hear its only 4 engines for the whole county ? I hope who is making decisions realizes lives are at risk. (both sides no politics here !!) chalky928
  • Score: 18

9:23pm Wed 13 Aug 14

member of public2 says...

Dear Scarletto
After reading your comments I am sat here stunned at your totally inaccurate view of the firefighters which leads me to think that you are either sat in your ivory tower not knowing what is happening in the real world or someone from the fire and rescue service trying to stir up trouble and undermine the fire fighters in their fight to keep what they signed up to and not let the grabbing government shaft the brave men and women, Remember firefighters save lives not banks
Dear Scarletto After reading your comments I am sat here stunned at your totally inaccurate view of the firefighters which leads me to think that you are either sat in your ivory tower not knowing what is happening in the real world or someone from the fire and rescue service trying to stir up trouble and undermine the fire fighters in their fight to keep what they signed up to and not let the grabbing government shaft the brave men and women, Remember firefighters save lives not banks member of public2
  • Score: 23

9:38pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Litlehampden says...

Throughout my 18 year career as a firefighter I've often experienced opinions such as Scarletto's. I find it very sad. They are normally ill informed people with very little understanding of 21st century fire and rescue services and their operations.
So if you would care to indulge me for just a moment I would like to give some insight into what being a firefighter actually entails.
Firstly, in order to perform efficiently at work we have to have and maintain an in-depth practical and theoretical knowledge of the following:
Fire, it's behaviour, development, mitigation and risks.
Electricity, it's processes and the safe practice of dealing with it in emergency situations.
The rail network and it's regulations, safety procedures and practical understanding of rolling stock and rail technology.
Hazardous materials, chemistry, information gathering, hazchem, Kemler codes, along with the handling and safety of chemicals in the haulage and manufacturing industries.
Vehicle technology with regard to working within, around and removal of casualties from cars and lorries involved in fire and road accidents.
Aircraft, fixed wing and rotary, their fuels, construction and procedures to deal with incidents.
Building construction and design, in particular, behaviour of all types of accommodation, housing, industrial and commercial buildings involved in fire or structural collapse.
Sewers, their construction, design, access and safety.
Emergency appliance driving, techniques for safely negotiating traffic and safe delivery of firefighters to incidents.
I could go on, but hopefully this brief look at the study and training that takes place every day and night on a whole time fire station, inbetween vital fire prevention in vulnerable people's homes, familiarisation of local business and processes in case of incidents, equipment maintenance and practical training. There is very little time for sitting, waiting for calls and drinking tea. If you feel that your firefighters are not doing enough for you I suggest you call in at your local station and ask to be shown what we do. You will receive a pleasant smile and I'm sure and you may leave a little more informed and less likely to make yourself look foolish on an open forum such as this.
Britain has the best trained and equipped fire service in the world and they belong to you the tax payer. Please place some value on what they do for you and support them at this time. Not one of us joined to become rich, we simply want to serve our communities and be looked after when our career's end.
Throughout my 18 year career as a firefighter I've often experienced opinions such as Scarletto's. I find it very sad. They are normally ill informed people with very little understanding of 21st century fire and rescue services and their operations. So if you would care to indulge me for just a moment I would like to give some insight into what being a firefighter actually entails. Firstly, in order to perform efficiently at work we have to have and maintain an in-depth practical and theoretical knowledge of the following: Fire, it's behaviour, development, mitigation and risks. Electricity, it's processes and the safe practice of dealing with it in emergency situations. The rail network and it's regulations, safety procedures and practical understanding of rolling stock and rail technology. Hazardous materials, chemistry, information gathering, hazchem, Kemler codes, along with the handling and safety of chemicals in the haulage and manufacturing industries. Vehicle technology with regard to working within, around and removal of casualties from cars and lorries involved in fire and road accidents. Aircraft, fixed wing and rotary, their fuels, construction and procedures to deal with incidents. Building construction and design, in particular, behaviour of all types of accommodation, housing, industrial and commercial buildings involved in fire or structural collapse. Sewers, their construction, design, access and safety. Emergency appliance driving, techniques for safely negotiating traffic and safe delivery of firefighters to incidents. I could go on, but hopefully this brief look at the study and training that takes place every day and night on a whole time fire station, inbetween vital fire prevention in vulnerable people's homes, familiarisation of local business and processes in case of incidents, equipment maintenance and practical training. There is very little time for sitting, waiting for calls and drinking tea. If you feel that your firefighters are not doing enough for you I suggest you call in at your local station and ask to be shown what we do. You will receive a pleasant smile and I'm sure and you may leave a little more informed and less likely to make yourself look foolish on an open forum such as this. Britain has the best trained and equipped fire service in the world and they belong to you the tax payer. Please place some value on what they do for you and support them at this time. Not one of us joined to become rich, we simply want to serve our communities and be looked after when our career's end. Litlehampden
  • Score: 21

10:05pm Wed 13 Aug 14

navy says...

Really pleased that the BFP have finally reported the strike either they have plenty of other news or like the majority of the media have been told not to report it, the strike has been going on since Saturday!

Why is Bucks the only fire service in the country that have come to a "democratic decision" not to pay the fireman after they go back to work. I can only assume that either the chief fire officer wants to make a name for himself or its to assist his agenda for more cuts to our service, either way we are not getting the service that we are paying for.
The decision will be costing us more because the the fireman that are working will be paid overtime, they came to an agreement last time there was a weeks strike the chief obviously couldn't stand the thought of the fireman getting one over him this time. Shame that one man's arrogance puts us all in more danger.
Really pleased that the BFP have finally reported the strike either they have plenty of other news or like the majority of the media have been told not to report it, the strike has been going on since Saturday! Why is Bucks the only fire service in the country that have come to a "democratic decision" not to pay the fireman after they go back to work. I can only assume that either the chief fire officer wants to make a name for himself or its to assist his agenda for more cuts to our service, either way we are not getting the service that we are paying for. The decision will be costing us more because the the fireman that are working will be paid overtime, they came to an agreement last time there was a weeks strike the chief obviously couldn't stand the thought of the fireman getting one over him this time. Shame that one man's arrogance puts us all in more danger. navy
  • Score: 9

2:46am Thu 14 Aug 14

faircuppa says...

Bucks is the most right wing County in UK just celebrating 125 years of Conservative rule. It has UKIP in opposition now to make matters worse. Don't let people undermine the principled stand of firefighters in trying to secure a safer service for Bucks residents. United we stand divided we fall.
Bucks is the most right wing County in UK just celebrating 125 years of Conservative rule. It has UKIP in opposition now to make matters worse. Don't let people undermine the principled stand of firefighters in trying to secure a safer service for Bucks residents. United we stand divided we fall. faircuppa
  • Score: 13

12:14pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Scarletto says...

Looks like an emergency message has flashed across to firefighters in the district to quickly reply to my comments and/or description of their alleged work patterns.
I've never said they're not brave lads and lasses attending 999 calls but just that their workload is on most days and nights much lighter than many other people in the public and private sectors. Also their pension package isn't as bad as many other people. There are lots of others with heavy, stressful, messy and truly poorly paid jobs which keep them very busy from the time they arrive at work till their shift ends. Not much job satisfaction either and very limited time for tea drinking, telly watching, long chats etc..
All three main parties plus Ukip have not supported the firefighters in their strike action for a better deal.
I hope firefighters get better pay but there are other poor wretches with worse jobs who perhaps should get a much better package.
The Fire Brigades Union is trying to lead members into hopeless action where they will lose pay while on "strike." Meanwhile fire cover and response is made even thinner while they're sitting outside the stations.
Looks like an emergency message has flashed across to firefighters in the district to quickly reply to my comments and/or description of their alleged work patterns. I've never said they're not brave lads and lasses attending 999 calls but just that their workload is on most days and nights much lighter than many other people in the public and private sectors. Also their pension package isn't as bad as many other people. There are lots of others with heavy, stressful, messy and truly poorly paid jobs which keep them very busy from the time they arrive at work till their shift ends. Not much job satisfaction either and very limited time for tea drinking, telly watching, long chats etc.. All three main parties plus Ukip have not supported the firefighters in their strike action for a better deal. I hope firefighters get better pay but there are other poor wretches with worse jobs who perhaps should get a much better package. The Fire Brigades Union is trying to lead members into hopeless action where they will lose pay while on "strike." Meanwhile fire cover and response is made even thinner while they're sitting outside the stations. Scarletto
  • Score: -5

12:47pm Thu 14 Aug 14

member of public2 says...

Dear chief fire officer stilletto
The comments you make are so mi-informed,it is not about a pay raise it is about contracts that were signed when firefighters started their careers and now government want to rip them up, you sound like an antagonist from the fire service trying to undermine freedom of speech
Dear chief fire officer stilletto The comments you make are so mi-informed,it is not about a pay raise it is about contracts that were signed when firefighters started their careers and now government want to rip them up, you sound like an antagonist from the fire service trying to undermine freedom of speech member of public2
  • Score: 5

3:47pm Thu 14 Aug 14

faircuppa says...

Scarletto wrote:
Looks like an emergency message has flashed across to firefighters in the district to quickly reply to my comments and/or description of their alleged work patterns.
I've never said they're not brave lads and lasses attending 999 calls but just that their workload is on most days and nights much lighter than many other people in the public and private sectors. Also their pension package isn't as bad as many other people. There are lots of others with heavy, stressful, messy and truly poorly paid jobs which keep them very busy from the time they arrive at work till their shift ends. Not much job satisfaction either and very limited time for tea drinking, telly watching, long chats etc..
All three main parties plus Ukip have not supported the firefighters in their strike action for a better deal.
I hope firefighters get better pay but there are other poor wretches with worse jobs who perhaps should get a much better package.
The Fire Brigades Union is trying to lead members into hopeless action where they will lose pay while on "strike." Meanwhile fire cover and response is made even thinner while they're sitting outside the stations.
Really, if none of the main political parties support something it suggests it is a good thing! Take austerity measures, these have made hardly any difference at all. I saw a diagram the other day of the national debt and we have saved less than the equivalent of a segment of an orange. The price has been to damage our public services. I for one will be supporting FBU so they don't lose pay.
[quote][p][bold]Scarletto[/bold] wrote: Looks like an emergency message has flashed across to firefighters in the district to quickly reply to my comments and/or description of their alleged work patterns. I've never said they're not brave lads and lasses attending 999 calls but just that their workload is on most days and nights much lighter than many other people in the public and private sectors. Also their pension package isn't as bad as many other people. There are lots of others with heavy, stressful, messy and truly poorly paid jobs which keep them very busy from the time they arrive at work till their shift ends. Not much job satisfaction either and very limited time for tea drinking, telly watching, long chats etc.. All three main parties plus Ukip have not supported the firefighters in their strike action for a better deal. I hope firefighters get better pay but there are other poor wretches with worse jobs who perhaps should get a much better package. The Fire Brigades Union is trying to lead members into hopeless action where they will lose pay while on "strike." Meanwhile fire cover and response is made even thinner while they're sitting outside the stations.[/p][/quote]Really, if none of the main political parties support something it suggests it is a good thing! Take austerity measures, these have made hardly any difference at all. I saw a diagram the other day of the national debt and we have saved less than the equivalent of a segment of an orange. The price has been to damage our public services. I for one will be supporting FBU so they don't lose pay. faircuppa
  • Score: 2

4:08pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Scarletto says...

Oh no, public 2 ...I'm never trying to undermine freedom of speech. Silly allegation. I'm the opposite........Just putting this dispute under public scrutiny.
I also suggest you use normal punctuation.
Finally, consider firefighters spending idle time compared with really under almost constant pressure staff in stressful jobs in places like care homes, the police, ambulance service, hospices, abattoirs, hospital wards, sales offices, mucky factories, farms, overcrowded and tough prisons, battlefields etc etc. Now that's real pressure....
Little idleness there...working almost constantly from the time they arrive till their shift ends, and worrying about the job even when off-duty..
Yup, firefighters sometimes have shortish bursts of stress etc. but there are worse jobs. Find out how many call-outs Wycombe or Beaconsfield fire stations have had in, say, the last six weeks or six months. Most of them were minor incidents or false alarms I suspect...
Bit sorry to prolong this ding-dong but I don't like inaccurate twaddle!
Oh no, public 2 ...I'm never trying to undermine freedom of speech. Silly allegation. I'm the opposite........Just putting this dispute under public scrutiny. I also suggest you use normal punctuation. Finally, consider firefighters spending idle time compared with really under almost constant pressure staff in stressful jobs in places like care homes, the police, ambulance service, hospices, abattoirs, hospital wards, sales offices, mucky factories, farms, overcrowded and tough prisons, battlefields etc etc. Now that's real pressure.... Little idleness there...working almost constantly from the time they arrive till their shift ends, and worrying about the job even when off-duty.. Yup, firefighters sometimes have shortish bursts of stress etc. but there are worse jobs. Find out how many call-outs Wycombe or Beaconsfield fire stations have had in, say, the last six weeks or six months. Most of them were minor incidents or false alarms I suspect... Bit sorry to prolong this ding-dong but I don't like inaccurate twaddle! Scarletto
  • Score: -2

4:10pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Litlehampden says...

Scarletto, so that we have some idea that we are not dealing with merely an internet trouble maker trying to stir up a hornets nest could you please furnish us with your experience and your knowledge of the fire service and with such strong opinions what qualifies you to have such a negative opinion of our job?
Scarletto, so that we have some idea that we are not dealing with merely an internet trouble maker trying to stir up a hornets nest could you please furnish us with your experience and your knowledge of the fire service and with such strong opinions what qualifies you to have such a negative opinion of our job? Litlehampden
  • Score: 2

5:35pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Scarletto says...

Oh yes Littlehampden.
First, I've no grudge against firefighters. They do a good job, going into nasty situations while others are moving away. We're all grateful they're on call. Good luck. We really need them.
I just want their current grouches aired and fairly examined. All a matter of perspective and fair deals compared to other jobs.
To answer your question......Now retired, I spent over 20 years quite regularly visting fire stations and chatting to firefighters of all ranks as part of my job. Sales missions.
My views are based from that, plus two friends who were in the service (not Bucks) and a former senior officer who made a study of the overall commitments, pressures and duties of modern firefighters. He made a fair assessment of hours actually worked, against other public sector jobs, and I know he had no pre-conceived beliefs.
He was just a seeker of the truth like me.....
I don't think I've got it much wrong. Or perhaps I have..... Whatever our profession is we all tend to defend it against outsiders.
Oh yes Littlehampden. First, I've no grudge against firefighters. They do a good job, going into nasty situations while others are moving away. We're all grateful they're on call. Good luck. We really need them. I just want their current grouches aired and fairly examined. All a matter of perspective and fair deals compared to other jobs. To answer your question......Now retired, I spent over 20 years quite regularly visting fire stations and chatting to firefighters of all ranks as part of my job. Sales missions. My views are based from that, plus two friends who were in the service (not Bucks) and a former senior officer who made a study of the overall commitments, pressures and duties of modern firefighters. He made a fair assessment of hours actually worked, against other public sector jobs, and I know he had no pre-conceived beliefs. He was just a seeker of the truth like me..... I don't think I've got it much wrong. Or perhaps I have..... Whatever our profession is we all tend to defend it against outsiders. Scarletto
  • Score: 2

6:46pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Litlehampden says...

So, with your vast experience of the British fire service and two decades of slightly unusual interaction, (in my career in nearly every station in Bristol, Somerset, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes, I've never and none of my current colleagues, ever met a salesman on a fire station.) you have concluded that our current 'grouch' is flawed, in that defending the pensions we signed up for and trying to ensure you as a tax payer get fit, well equipped, well trained individuals to attend to your emergency is wrong. By that, I can only assume you would be more than happy for one fire engine with four 60 year old firefighters on board, turn up at your house and do their best to rescue your loved ones and save your property.
For that is our 'grouch' and I find it very difficult to understand what sort of person would not support that.
So, with your vast experience of the British fire service and two decades of slightly unusual interaction, (in my career in nearly every station in Bristol, Somerset, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes, I've never and none of my current colleagues, ever met a salesman on a fire station.) you have concluded that our current 'grouch' is flawed, in that defending the pensions we signed up for and trying to ensure you as a tax payer get fit, well equipped, well trained individuals to attend to your emergency is wrong. By that, I can only assume you would be more than happy for one fire engine with four 60 year old firefighters on board, turn up at your house and do their best to rescue your loved ones and save your property. For that is our 'grouch' and I find it very difficult to understand what sort of person would not support that. Litlehampden
  • Score: 1

8:54pm Thu 14 Aug 14

faircuppa says...

Sounds like Scarletto is bogus provocoteur of the right possibly ex Fire Authority or spouse of one.
Selling cutbacks probably!
Sounds like Scarletto is bogus provocoteur of the right possibly ex Fire Authority or spouse of one. Selling cutbacks probably! faircuppa
  • Score: -2

7:50am Fri 15 Aug 14

Marmite XO says...

I'm getting increasingly bored of these lazy firefighters striking whenever they need a rest. They need to realise they are not even an emergency service anymore. They are a cross between the AA and a pet rescue service.

If you don't like your jobs or working conditions, find another job.
I'm getting increasingly bored of these lazy firefighters striking whenever they need a rest. They need to realise they are not even an emergency service anymore. They are a cross between the AA and a pet rescue service. If you don't like your jobs or working conditions, find another job. Marmite XO
  • Score: 1

8:22am Fri 15 Aug 14

bond man says...

Maybe its time that fire fighters had other roles within the comunity, for example they could maybe sweep the streets and empty the trash bins,clean road signs and the like, and for the night time shift maybe picking the litter off the motorways as would be safer at night while waiting for calls, that way everyone will be a winner,fire trucks on the streets,cleaner streets,cleaner motorways, Imagine how much respect you would get from the public then,and you could finish your shift knowing you have done a good days work. Maybe turn your blue lights to orange ones. Food for thought?
Maybe its time that fire fighters had other roles within the comunity, for example they could maybe sweep the streets and empty the trash bins,clean road signs and the like, and for the night time shift maybe picking the litter off the motorways as would be safer at night while waiting for calls, that way everyone will be a winner,fire trucks on the streets,cleaner streets,cleaner motorways, Imagine how much respect you would get from the public then,and you could finish your shift knowing you have done a good days work. Maybe turn your blue lights to orange ones. Food for thought? bond man
  • Score: -1

10:52am Fri 15 Aug 14

Scarletto says...

Enough, enough.
Both "sides" of the argument have been well aired here. Time to move on and not be tempted to start Round X of this ding-dong.
I wish firefighters well and suggest that nationally they should try to increase their public relations so that more of us can start to try to understand their pleas for a better deal. They're in a life and property saving service and should not dangerously walk out from that duty. Imagine if police, ambulance crews, nurses, care attendants did that....
Final comments here though.
(1) It seems very unlikely that a crew of all 60 year olds would ever be on one appliance. Age mix much more likely.
(2) I've never had any direct or indirect connection with the fire authority. Just someone who wants to see fair deals in the public sector with staff in care homes, hospitals, police, ambulance etc etc services getting as good a deal as firefighters apparently have now.
...and my politics are definitely left of centre. I've in the past been a union branch chairman and negotiator, been out on bitter strikes with lost pay and little gain. The FBU have often been class warrior firebrands, as Barbara Castle said, and need to be led by more moderate sensible cool headed senior officials .....and even earning less than the current ones. £85,000 - £125,000?
Read the recent profiles in The Guardian and New Statesman.
Sorry to take another swing here having cried "Enough.."
Tat-ta....(and good luck).
Enough, enough. Both "sides" of the argument have been well aired here. Time to move on and not be tempted to start Round X of this ding-dong. I wish firefighters well and suggest that nationally they should try to increase their public relations so that more of us can start to try to understand their pleas for a better deal. They're in a life and property saving service and should not dangerously walk out from that duty. Imagine if police, ambulance crews, nurses, care attendants did that.... Final comments here though. (1) It seems very unlikely that a crew of all 60 year olds would ever be on one appliance. Age mix much more likely. (2) I've never had any direct or indirect connection with the fire authority. Just someone who wants to see fair deals in the public sector with staff in care homes, hospitals, police, ambulance etc etc services getting as good a deal as firefighters apparently have now. ...and my politics are definitely left of centre. I've in the past been a union branch chairman and negotiator, been out on bitter strikes with lost pay and little gain. The FBU have often been class warrior firebrands, as Barbara Castle said, and need to be led by more moderate sensible cool headed senior officials .....and even earning less than the current ones. £85,000 - £125,000? Read the recent profiles in The Guardian and New Statesman. Sorry to take another swing here having cried "Enough.." Tat-ta....(and good luck). Scarletto
  • Score: 6

12:34am Sat 16 Aug 14

Binkybun says...

Scarletto: I'm interested as to why you haven't confronted the content of the article. Despite firefighters voting to strike for 3 hours each day during the 8 days of the strike period, the Chief Fire Officer has decided, of his own volition, to lock the firefighters out for the entire 8 days, thus leaving the area undermannned in cases of emergency.

Because of this we are surely at some risk. If there is an emergency, which you don't seem to think is important as it is not a common enough occurrence for you, the Fire Chief will have to call back the striking firefighters, who HE has locked out, to return to work to keep the public safe.

Before you accuse me of speaking on behalf of a member of the fire service I am merely a member of the public who feels strongly about your earlier comment.

It is surely the Chief Fire Officer in this case who has left us unprotected. You may disagree with the strike itself but that is not the issue tackled by this article. It's interesting that, having banned the striking firefighters from the premises, he may now need to call them back on duty to deal with those issues that arise over the weekend. You may feel that firefighters don't do enough, but I would rather they were available to tackle a fire/car accident than not.

In relation to your comment I suspect it's much more likely that firefighters train between calls as, let's be honest, that is the way that all companies run these days. I would be very surprised if a government-owned organisation did not follow this pattern.

Please feel free to question my comment and make assumptions as to who I am but perhaps you need to think more deeply about the article you are commenting about.
Scarletto: I'm interested as to why you haven't confronted the content of the article. Despite firefighters voting to strike for 3 hours each day during the 8 days of the strike period, the Chief Fire Officer has decided, of his own volition, to lock the firefighters out for the entire 8 days, thus leaving the area undermannned in cases of emergency. Because of this we are surely at some risk. If there is an emergency, which you don't seem to think is important as it is not a common enough occurrence for you, the Fire Chief will have to call back the striking firefighters, who HE has locked out, to return to work to keep the public safe. Before you accuse me of speaking on behalf of a member of the fire service I am merely a member of the public who feels strongly about your earlier comment. It is surely the Chief Fire Officer in this case who has left us unprotected. You may disagree with the strike itself but that is not the issue tackled by this article. It's interesting that, having banned the striking firefighters from the premises, he may now need to call them back on duty to deal with those issues that arise over the weekend. You may feel that firefighters don't do enough, but I would rather they were available to tackle a fire/car accident than not. In relation to your comment I suspect it's much more likely that firefighters train between calls as, let's be honest, that is the way that all companies run these days. I would be very surprised if a government-owned organisation did not follow this pattern. Please feel free to question my comment and make assumptions as to who I am but perhaps you need to think more deeply about the article you are commenting about. Binkybun
  • Score: 1

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