BREAKING: all 1,250 firefighters in Manchester to be sacked September 19, 2016,
Firefighters in Manchester are today in shock at the news they are all to lose their jobs.
Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service managers announced plans to sack every frontline firefighter in the area, totalling 1250. Only those who agree to new imposed conditions of service that will see them working 12-hour shifts will get their jobs back.
The whole process has begun with limited discussion and no agreement from the FBU which represents an estimated 95% of firefighters in the area.
FBU Greater Manchester brigade secretary Gary Keary said: “We are staggered that GMFRS would jeopardise relations with its workforce in this aggressive way. To start the process for dismissing firefighters to then simply re-engage them on an un-negotiated contract is really appalling, and a serious breach of the agreed mechanisms for industrial relations in the UK fire and rescue service.
“We at the FBU will do everything we can to resolve what could turn into a bitter and damaging dispute using agreed procedures. Since the notice of the sacking proposals was issued, we have been contacted by lots of angry FBU members. We will continue to consult with them regarding the best way forward. This is the third change to shift systems in Greater Manchester since 2006 – surely firefighters are entitled to some sort of stability in their working lives.”
Figures released by GMFRS show an increase of 140% in all rescues over the last 12 months, alongside an extremely worrying threefold increase in fire deaths. Firefighters in the region are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of repeated cuts on public safety.
The proposed new arrangements mean that one in five firefighter posts will be slashed, 250 posts in total, with the remainder having worse conditions imposed on them. Firefighters would hardly see their families under the new 12-hour shift arrangements.
Opinion: When the miners went on strike all those years ago I was living in Swansea and took food to the striking miners.
It was miners who built the wealth of the nation and they were treated in a shameful way by Thatcher and her henchman Sir Ian McGregor. Arthur Scargill at the time had articulated that the Tory government had a hit list of mines that they wanted to close though the government denied it but it turned out to be true.
Whilst we can be critical of Arthur in the way he handled that whole dispute we also have to be critical of ourselves as a Labour Party and as a movement in that when these desperate people wanted our help and support it was not forthcoming.
I commend people like Dennis Skinner, the late Eric Heffer, the late Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn for standing with the miners in their hour of need. Sadly others in the Labour Party who are still around today need to examine themselves for they will be found short.
That well known doyen of the left Richard Burgon commented in relation to what is happening today that supporters of Jeremy Corbyn are being referred to in the same vein as the miners and their families were referred to in the 80's.
"I am not – and others are not – going to stand by whilst hundreds of thousands of decent Labour members are dismissed and demonised as bullies, brick-throwers, misogynists and thugs. It’s just not right," he said.
"And this kind of thing is nothing new. Labour people must remember that in the 1984/5 miners’ strike the establishment attempted to dismiss and demonise hundreds of thousands of striking miners and activists from Women Against Pit Closures as bullies, brick-throwers and thugs.
"They were smeared as 'the enemy within'. But their real crime, in the eyes of the establishment, was to get together and organise to take on the establishment, stand up for working-class interests and build a better society.
"Just as it was morally wrong to smear hundreds of thousands of striking miners and Women Against Pit Closures activists in this way in 1984/5, it is morally wrong to dismiss and demonise hundreds of thousands of Labour Party members in this way in 2016."
I commended Richard and others for standing up to the plate and taking on the mantle.
I am not a thug, I am not scum, I am not a bully, I am not rabble, I am not a brick thrower but I am a Labour Party member who thinks we can and we should work to create a better, fairer more equal society.
Thanks to our regular contributor Fredrick James for sharing
The late Anthony Wedgewood Benn once said that the Labour Party is not a socialist party but is a party with socialists in it. I guess I would subscribe to this comment.
Since our inception we have been a melting pot of different ideas hence being a broad church.
The only time socialism was mentioned in our ordinances was when a certain Tony Blair advocated a change of Clause 4 from what it had been since 1917 when Sydney Webb drafted the original " To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service" to what it is today.
I do think at times political parties need to look at themselves and to work out what is their purpose and indeed last year it was suggested by one of the then Labour leadership candidates that perhaps we needed to look again at our aims and values in light of changing times.
When that was suggested it spurred me into writing a new clause 4 which I promptly deposited with a certain person.
However it is not the most important thing on the agenda.
One of my big criticisms of the Party was that it lacked a grassroots organisation where there could be a cross fertilization of ideas on how we could rebuild a collapsing society.
No doubt whatever ideas I had put forward to the Party ended up in the shredder.
Under previous leaders we were very top down and we adopted a clunking first approach that the leader is all knowing.
Although I campaigned in 2015 in my limited way for Labour in support of the local candidate I was under no illusions having informed the party back in 2014 that we were not going to win, again my thoughts at that time were put in the shredder, and after the defeat in 2015 I wrote a long explanation on why we were defeated again - that was put into the shredder.
We have a leadership now whom I believe are willing to listen to the shop floor because they don't have the answers to everything but together we can come to that point where the answers are in front of us.
Finally we came into being to be the voice of working class opinion in the legislature and the great challenge for us today is to reconnect with the working class and to understand their needs, their wants, their hopes and their desires and if we can do that I believe we will form the next government.
However if we display an arrogance, which I believe we did under previous leaders then I am sorry to say we will be defeated in 2020 or whenever the next general election occurs, because a party that doesn't listen to the people doesn't deserve to be in government.
Thanks to our regular contributor Ferederick James
From what I have observed of the people over the last 30 years I have come to the conclusion that by and large they are very conservative, with a small c, and they are not hugely ideological for they are more concerned with the practicalities of life, so I would argue that whilst our aim is to see a Labour Government espousing democratic socialist values and principles our policies that will take us into government must not be couched in terms of ideology but must be couched in terms of practicalities.
Labour promoting practical solutions to practical problems that should be our mantra.
Is housing the homeless an ideological thing or a practical thing? Is securing full employment an ideological thing or a practical thing? Is ending the need for food banks an ideological thing or a practical thing? The list is endless.
Whilst I admit there is a democratic socialist ideology behind every practical solution that's where in my view it should stay; for the moment it gets in front of the solution that's where I think we could frighten the people away.
People are easily frightened of change so the trick is not to frighten the people.
I am not talking about ditching our ideology because that is our foundation; what I am talking about is that when we talk to the people we should not talk about the ideology but about the solution to the problems they face in their daily lives but we won't get the solution until we understand the problem.
Yes it is our ideology that gives rise to the solution and when we talk about the solution then the ideology that has given rise to the solution must stay behind it.
For the moment it gets in front of the solution then we could be in danger of scaring people away.
It's about choosing the correct strategy and understanding the psychology of the voter which I do not believe we have been very good at in recent years.
Thanks to Frederick James
DI Coffey has been an online friend for sometime.
Currently she is suspended from the Labour Party and deprived her vote in the Labour leadership election.
Is she a party entryist, a trot, a hard left activist? No she is an older female Labour Party supporter.
This is what she shared early Wednesday ""Oooooo! Sitting at my laptop doing my usual stuff - answering supportive messages and emails from kind folk who are concerned about my suspension for the Labour Party. BUT. . . around eleven o'clock this morning, Scott Bingham of BBC Sunday Politics will arrive to interview me. (Big gulp). So few outside social media appear to have a clue as to what the NEC is doing to so many of us. I accepted the request for an interview because it will, hopefully, give me a chance to shed light on what's going on. (That's if I don't mess up!). Wish me luck!!!"
And many people have done just that wishing Di luck and showing their pleasure that finally the Labour Party purge is making mainstream news.
Around 6 pm BST Di has shared the following update:
"Well, it's been quite a day!
Scott Bingham of Sunday Politics South West turned up at my flat at eleven o'clock together with camera man, Don. Both men were very friendly and did their best to put me at my ease. And Momentum Falmouth and Falmouth Labour member, John Gray, popped in as promised to give me some tips and a lot of moral support. Thanks so much, John.
I answered questions about my suspension for the best part of an hour and I did my best to introduce as many issues as possible that reflect all you lovely people out there.
I did my best to be as positive as possible but I did express my *deep* concern about people being refused membership of the Labour Party - or being suspended - simply because they had once voted Green, or retweeted a Green policy. Ditto other parties.
I explained how the NEC is very busy finding ways of suspending as many members as possible who are likely to be voting for Jeremy, using (as in my case) unproven accusations of posting/tweeting "abusive, racist and foul language".
I expressed the hope that, after the leadership election establishes Jeremy Corbyn in his role, the majority of the PLP will unite behind him. I said I know that for some MPs such as Hilary Benn and Ben Bradshaw, that would be highly unlikely but I hope, in order to avoid a split in our party, they will consider doing this.
To illustrate reaching out to one another, I paid tribute to ex MP, Cllr Candy Atherton, who served under Tony Blair.
She is remaining neutral as far as the leadership candidates are concerned but there is reason to suppose she will not be voting for Jeremy. (Although I may be wrong). Candy has made it clear how much she disapproves of me setting up Momentum Falmouth so all the more credit to her for phoning me to discuss my suspension, expressing her concern and supplying me with a vital email address that did not appear on McNicol's letter. For those in the same boat as me it's: email@example.com.
Scott Bingham will, of course, have to pare down what I said to fit whatever slot I've been given in next Sunday's programme - Sunday Politics South West - 11.00 am on BBC1 (occasionally it's on BBC2 as is the Daily Politics).
You should be able to access the South West bit via BBC iPlayer.
Finally - quess who else has been interviewed today for the same programme? Only Michael Foster!
Many apologies for this lengthy post. I can confirm writing is a lot easier than being interviewed!!!
PS: My oncologist is very happy with me and I need no further scans till next January! :-)"
Good luck to Di Coffey and others unfairly suspended from the Labour Party.
Tune in to the BBC Sunday and watch out for updates from Di and us.
Open Right Group has criticised parts of the Digital Economy Bill (DEB), which has its second reading in the House of Commons today. While the Bill includes some beneficial proposals, there are worrying plans that could affect UK citizens’ rights.
Age verification for porn sites
The DEB includes plans to oblige porn websites to set up age verification to prevent under 18s from seeing adult content.
Executive Director of Open Rights Group, Jim Killock said:
“While age verification may seem like a good way to protect young people, it is not clear how it could be implemented and still protect individuals' privacy. Collecting the details of everyone who visits a porn website could create datasets that are vulnerable to Ashley Madison style data breaches. We need more information on how the government intends to implement this policy.”
Ten years in prison for file sharing
The DEB also includes proposals to bring sentences for online copyright infringement in line with physical copyright theft.
“The Digital Economy Bill could mean that people who share files could get a jail sentence, even if they aren't doing it to make money. Sharing music, films or books online could result in a longer prison sentence than stealing from a shop. We don't think the creative industries want to punish people in this way but it could be exploited by ‘copyright trolls’, such as Golden Eye International, who send threatening letters demanding payments to people who have committed minor copyright infringements. It will only take a small tweak to the proposed legislation to ensure that this doesn't happen.”
The DEB states that there needs to be “a reason to believe” that infringement will cause a loss or will create “a risk of loss”. ORG is calling for “risk of loss” to be removed to ensure that file sharing that is not done for financial gain does not lead to threats of criminal convictions with jail sentences.
ORG’s full briefing on the Digital Economy Bill is available here: https://www.openrightsgroup.org/ourwork/reports/digital-economy-bill-briefing-to-the-house-of-commons-on-second-reading
Notes to Editor
Open Rights Group is the UK's leading digital rights organisation, campaigning for privacy and free speech.
About Open Rights Group
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Founded in 2005, we have over 3000 paying supporters and a movement of 36,000 activists.
Winner of the Liberty Human Rights Campaigner of the Year Award 2012
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