The Eastern region of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has voted to back the Free Our Unions statement – the second FBU region to do so, after the West Midlands – and purchase 200 copies of the Free Our Unions pamphlet produced by the Labour left group The Clarion. The two regions have also arranged to raise the campaign at FBU national conference in May.
On 21 January, Clarion editor Sacha Ismail attended the Eastern regional committee of firefighter and control representatives from across six counties to give a presentation. On 23 January, Bakers’ Union member Justine Canady followed up by leading a workshop at a Fire Brigades Union training event for new reps on fighting the anti-trade union laws and on the Free Our Unions campaign.
Firefighter and FBU regional secretary Riccardo La Torre told The Clarion: “In an industry that has faced over a decade of austerity and cuts, firefighters and fire control staff understand all to well the shackles that the anti¬union laws place on us, as workers fighting to defend our jobs and the vital life-saving service we provide to the public.
“The FBU is the only organisation defending the fire service from savage, life-threatening cuts, and these laws are designed to stop us from doing so effectively. Since the 1980s governments and have been putting a crop of legislation in place to stop workers from organising and fighting back.
“It’s time for the Labour Party to act as the voice of workers and, together with the trade union movement, send a clear message. Enough is enough – we must call unapologetically for the repeal of all anti¬trade union laws”.