Bonfire night is almost here, its the time when, depending on which government is in power and their relations with the public standing, we will either be celebrating that Guy Fawkes failed to destroy government, or, as is likely, commiserating that he was caught. Either way, it is sure to be an explosive night with fireworks and open bonfires spread across the country.
Any normal, rational human would therefore recognize that with non experts deliberately and legally setting off high yield explosive devices across the land, that there is a risk of something catching fire that should not be on fire. Why then would London’s Fire service decide that this of all nights is a good time to decide to go on strike!
Its a political stunt that surely will only earn them the distrust and respect of the people of London. Indeed senior political figures including the prime minister have already spoken out against the planned strike action.
The strike centers around shift patterns, which makes a change from the usual not enough pay or pensions that strikes inevitably are all about. Strike action needs to be considered as a last resort, more so when the safety and security of the public interests are at stake.
It is argued that changes to the shift patterns are necessary for the purpose of modernising the Fire Service which can surely only be a great thing to do. The service already has a 24 hours a day 365 days a year schedule – one serving crew goes off duty and another takes over – its how its been for a very long time. To strike over something as trivial as this on such a day of known fire hazards is outrageous. The proposals to fire the entire fire service staff and take them all on on the basis of a new contract seems to be quite a strong case if the service is going to strike.
The two parties should come to an amicable decision between each other over the problem or defer the strike to a point in time where it is entirely safe to assume that explosive devices are not going to be regularly in use across the country.