Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Merseyside Firefighter in Trouble for Smiling 'Aggressively'

Following the partial defeat of their cuts agenda this summer, Merseyside Fire Authority is trying to get its own back, and weaken the morale of victorious firefighters. Letters have been served to fourteen emergency crew members, calling them to hearings over incidents during the walkout.

After four weeks of strike action this September, Merseyside FBU succeeded in saving essential services from 3.5 million of cuts demanded by the government. Instead, the cuts were moved away from the frontline.

Now fourteen firefighters are being lined-up for disciplinary hearings over seemingly trivial 'offences'. One incident involves claims that one fire officer was allegedly "smiling too aggressively".

Last night, Merseyside's Fire Brigade Union chairman Mark Dunne said: "We have had 14 calls from firefighters who have been told they face disciplinary action because of the strike.

"It is over very low level incidents. One is for smiling aggressively and there are also ones for being rowdy and boisterous.

"It is unbelievable, particularly as both sides signed a back to work agreement which was supposed to mean that neither side would use the strike against the other.

"The problem seems to be that station managers and area managers are ignorant about the agreement."

Firefighters on Merseyside have a lot to smile about following their tremendous victory, which was won thanks to great solidarity, in spite of a corporate media campaign against the union. Not surprisingly, the bosses who tried to break the FBU can't bear to see happy workers.

For in-depth analysis of the dispute, visit the Liverpool Indymedia feature.
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