Our Say

After G8 and the London bombings - the way forward

London terror attacks condemned

After Live 8:
from pressure to action

The G8 summit and political power

Make the G8 leaders history

A sham election

10 good reasons to boycott May 5

Don't be blackmailed into voting

Reject ‘dependency’ politics

No votes for New Labour!

Parliament seals its own fate

A secret policeman's government

Vote for "none of the above"

How to remember the victims of the tsunami

A state of crisis

New Labour and the big lie

Yasser Arafat - a revolutionary life

After the US election

Blood on New Labour's hands

Butler and weapons of mass deception

With 'leaders' like these, who needs enemies?

How to meet the threat from the right

Barbarians at the gate

Torture, values and lies

The silence of the lambs

War crimes in Iraq

The slaughter in Madrid

The unfinished business of the miners’ strike 1984-85

L’état – c’est New Labour

The death of liberal democracy foretold

Hutton washes the state whiter than white

Top-up fees and the market economy

Our challenge for 2004

New Labour's march to a police state

Bush & Blair - partners in crime

London Region revolts against FBU leaders

Postal workers in the front line

No turning back

Where we go from here

Stop the War Coalition leaders and political fabrication

Regime change begins at home

Blood on New Labour's hands

There's more involved than just Blair

New Labour, lies and spies

Firefighters should reject deal and disown leaders

BECTU vote on New Labour link a step forward

Time runs out for FBU leaders

New Labour's one-party state

The blind alley of crude anti-Americanism

Occupation of Iraq - time to move beyond protest

War is a test for principles

Iraqi defiance shocks and awes

FBU leaders who backed capitulation should resign now

Down with New Labour's war - for regime change in Britain

FBU at war with New Labour

New Labour, not just Blair, is the target

50 years since the death of Stalin - an assessment

FBU finds itself in Precott's trap

War is Peace - Blair's fictitious 'push for peace'

15/2: Global marches put power on the agenda

Crisis of globalisation behind attack on Iraq

Tell it how it is

An injury to one is an injury to all

War plans expose fraudulent 'democracy'

A 'regime change' in Britain is the answer to war on Iraq

FBU needs a new strategy

Challenging New Labour

A moment of truth in the fight against New Labour

Gilchrist says it how it is

Time to defy the anti-union laws in support of the FBU

FBU must ask for solidarity strikes

FBU leaders must ask for support now

New Labour provokes confrontation

Italian police attack No-Global movement

New Labour declares war on FBU

Don't let the FBU fight alone

UN writes a blank cheque for war

Blood on Putin's hands

Unions must support firefighters with action not words

Support the firefighters - defeat New Labour

Bush-Blair war agenda revealed

Seeing through New Labour's weapons of mass deception

The US media and the new garrison state

The BEGINNING of Politics

How technology could
free humanity

'Terminator' engineering: A threat to humanity

The future is socialist

Asylum legislation fuels racist attacks

Road map to the future

E-mail to hear about site changes, placing 'update' in body of message



New Labour declares war on FBU

New Labour's threats to use the army to break picket lines and seize fire engines from striking FBU members show that the Blair government will go to any lengths to fight the union's pay claim. This could even involve the use of the Tory anti-union laws to ban the strike altogether.

As John Prescott, the deputy prime minister, told MPs: . "Whatever I have to do, I will do it - be clear about it." That does not, of course, include paying more than the 4% offered by the employers on the orders of the government. New Labour would rather foot the £6 million-a-day bill for providing alternative cover.

These moves confirm that the real intention of the government is to break the FBU as a fighting force. Blair wants other unions to understand that New Labour will push ahead with its public services privatisation programme and tolerate no opposition.

While Prescott was speaking, the government announced the details of the "Foundation" hospitals which will be created outside NHS control. Even the former health secretary Frank Dobson can see that this is part of the break-up of the health service.

The fire service is already subject to the "private finance initiative". In London, for example, the fire engines are not actually owned by the local authority. They are owned by a private sector company and leased back to fire brigades.

An FBU source is quoted as saying that the government was resorting to desperate measures. He said: "They seem intent on acting like tinpot dictators. They accuse us of being militants, but they are becoming head bangers."

This is a correct estimate. That is why it is totally unacceptable for other unions who say they support the FBU to stand back and await the outcome of the firefighters' struggle before deciding on their own anti-privatisation and pay campaigns.

Union leaders who have pledged verbal support to the FBU have to act now, not sit back and allow the FBU to take on the government, the state and the media by itself.

Members of the RMT have shown they are willing to act by refusing to take out Tube trains on the London Underground on safety grounds.

It is time for sympathetic union leaders to declare publicly that they will not stand by and allow the state to bludgeon the FBU into submission and that they will organise official strike action to defend the firefighters.

Some union leaders fear the courts would seize assets because sympathetic strike action is illegal under Tory/New Labour anti-union laws. Well, what is the point in having assets if they are not used for fighting on behalf of the membership? Assets can always be rebuilt whereas the outcome of confrontations like this one will have a lasting effect.

The FBU has to defeat this reactionary New Labour government to win. We repeat: they will need the support of the rest of the trade union and working class movement to do so.

Movement for a Socialist Future
November 15, 2002