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#163305 - Sun Mar 16 2003 09:12 AM UK Firefighters' strike could be banned by AG
sue943 Offline

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It is possible that the next strike planned by the firefighters, for this coming Thursday, could be outlawed by the Attorney General as it means that the troops have to stand in for them. As it is thought that the war might have started by this time it would place enormous pressure on the troops.

BBC Online
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#163306 - Sun Mar 16 2003 12:38 PM Re: UK Firefighters' strike could be banned by AG
MsBatt Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 16 2001
Posts: 883
Loc: Alabama USA
This isn't exactly a reply, but a further question.

If not allowed to strike, what sort of bargaining tool SHOULD providers of essential services (such as firefighters, policemen, emergency medical personnel, etc.) have?

On the one hand, strikes by these people have the potential to endanger the public welfare, and it's easy to argue that such strikes should NOT be permitted.But on the other hand, these people are generally doing a dirty, thankless job, often for lower wages than they could earn in less demanding jobs. Why SHOULD they be denied an important tool for negotiating better wages and job conditions?

I don't have an answer---does anyone out there?
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#163307 - Sun Mar 16 2003 03:36 PM Re: UK Firefighters' strike could be banned by AG
A Member Offline
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Registered: Fri Nov 23 2001
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Following the "declaration of war" by "the powers that be" I beleive the Firefighters will "in the event of a conflict" postpone their Strike. My personal view is that the Firefighters are human beings they are not Ogres or Saints, they have a dispute with the Employers but have already shown that they will put that aside to do their job. I'm fully backing their wage claim because they alone have shown that they want the Fire Service to remain the best in the world!
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#163308 - Sun Mar 16 2003 03:42 PM Re: UK Firefighters' strike could be banned by AG
A Member Offline
Multiloquent

Registered: Fri Nov 23 2001
Posts: 3082
Loc:  
In answer to MsBatt - The most effective tool available to any worker denied the right to strike is "Work to Rule" any employer who denies the right to strike has to have contracts and rules of employment. In any emergency these rules are usually not applied but consider the option of a policeman or firefighter reaching the end of his shift - arresting a criminal or fighting a fire saying - that's it my shift is over I'm going home now - I can't work any more hours today because the rules don't allow it!!
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#163309 - Sun Mar 16 2003 10:08 PM Re: UK Firefighters' strike could be banned by AG
MsBatt Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 16 2001
Posts: 883
Loc: Alabama USA
Oooh----never heard of THAT! I imagine it WOULD be effective, but---I find it harder to imagine a (good, dedicated) policeman or firefighter doing that than I can imagine them striking to begin with. I know that were I fighting a fire, I would find it much more morally dificult to just 'stop in the middle' than to go on strike and more or less forewarn folks that help would NOT be forthcoming. Same for a policeman spending eight hours pursuing a felon, just to wave him on his way because he's now 'off the clock'.

Has this actually been employed to force negotiations?!?
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#163310 - Mon Mar 17 2003 06:08 PM Re: UK Firefighters' strike could be banned by AG
tellywellies Offline
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Registered: Sat Apr 13 2002
Posts: 5341
Loc: South of England
I don't recall any of the essential services employing this tactic. Does anyone know for sure whether they have or not?

On the original post though, I think further strikes by the firemen should be outlawed in view of the current situation in Iraq. Surely they shouldn’t even consider forcing soldiers away from supporting their mates and performing their duty in a time of conflict?

I don’t believe the firemen had majority support when they went on strike last time. They’d probably get even less sympathy for their pay claim now.

Perhaps the last bout of strikes only seemed to have popular support because of what was seen and heard on the news. Reports took place outside of Fire Stations and every 15 - 20 seconds a motorist could be heard tooting their horn as an indication of support. However, this gave a false impression. Fire Stations are usually situated on fairly busy roads and quite a few cars will pass by during that time. On that premise perhaps only one in ten motorists might be tooting the horn. I passed our local Fire Station a number of times when the strikes were taking place and I never heard anyone toot a horn ...but then there were no news teams present I suppose. This might seem a simple way to be gauging local public opinion but it is a way that the firemen themselves choose. I never did find a way of pointedly not hooting my horn.

Admittedly the soldiers make good firefighters (for less pay than the firemen too) despite not having access to specialist equipment. However they’re needed elsewhere now, so come on firemen forget it! …at least for the duration of the conflict.
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#163311 - Wed Mar 19 2003 08:03 PM Re: UK Firefighters' strike could be banned by AG
bloomsby Offline
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Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
Posts: 3717
Loc: Norwich England UK            
In Britain anyway, a 'work to rule' usually involves a much more than just working strictly by the rules. In fact, it's usually a matter of deliberate non co-operation. For example, if a manager asks where Bloggs was last seen, he's sent off in the wrong direction. As for its use by workers in essential services, I believe it was last used in Britain by workers in the electricity supply industry in the late 1960s.



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