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



Support the firefighters - defeat New Labour

By voting by almost nine to one to strike for a living wage, 50,000 firefighters and control staff have thrown down the biggest trade union challenge to New Labour since it came to office in 1997.

The firefighters' first national strikes for 25 years - a series of 48-hour and eight-day walkouts beginning on October 29 - are not just aimed at their local council employers, who have offered 4%.

New Labour pulls the purse strings and has already blocked a 16% offer made in response to the Fire Brigades Union’s 40% claim for a £30,000 basic for a qualified firefighter.

John Prescott, the deputy prime minister, has led the attack on the FBU. He denounced their proposed strikes as “dangerous and damaging”, while the fire minister Nick Raynsford called them “wretched and wrong”. It was Prescott, of course, who made sure Cabinet ministers got a 40% rise last year.

New Labour will send in the army to try and break the strike, just as Labour did during the last national strike in 1977-78. So a political struggle is ahead between a government that takes its marching orders from big business and one of the most militant group of trade unionists.

New Labour is desperate to defeat the firefighters and will use lies, deception and emotional appeals to discredit strikers. This is because the stakes are so high for Blair’s government.

Their idea of public services is privatisation, flexible working, low pay and weakened trade union representation. That is what the private finance initiative is all about. And that’s why, despite TUC opposition, New Labour is deepening its plans to include opted-out hospitals and schools.

The FBU is therefore right to boycott the “independent” review set up by the government. Proposals to break up the fire service as a publicly-funded operation are certain to exist in New Labour circles and come into the review.

New Labour is also determined to block the FBU claim because the government needs to reassure international financiers and corporations that Britain is not on the way to becoming a place where workers earn decent wages.

So when firefighters strike they call into question all of New Labour’s reactionary policies, including the plan for an illegal war against Iraq at a cost that far outweighs the money needed to settle the FBU claim.

Some firefighters believe that New Labour regards them with the same hatred as the Tories did the miners. That is undoubtedly the case and as a result FBU members cannot be expected to shoulder this fight against New Labour and the state on their own.

Several public sector trade union leaders have pledged their support for the FBU claim. Now is the time to put their words into action and organise solidarity action in support of the firefighters. Those like the railway workers' and postal workers' unions that oppose government policies have an obligation to join the FBU action and defeat the government.

Now is also the time for the working class movement to debate the case for an alternative to New Labour. This is purely and simply a business government that deserves no support whatsoever and has to go.

Movement for a Socialist Future
October 18, 2002