Riccardo: “The claim that Boris Johnson is a friend of workers is laughable.”
After a month of flooding in northern England, the UK is bracing itself for more severe weather, with Devon now facing flooding.
There are currently 77 flood alerts across England and Wales and nine severe flood warnings across England.
Firefighters like Riccardo have been run ragged, trying to cope with the scale of a disaster that could have been reduced if the Conservatives had not cut funding for flood defences.
Watch him explain why, for him and many in his profession, Labour is the only choice in the December 2019 general election:
If you are affected by the next wave of flooding – or were affected by the last – the choice Riccardo presents is clear.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
Yes, the Conservatives cheered when they learned that they – with their new little helpers, the DUP – had achieved their goal.
What goal? Why, to treat the police who handled the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, the firefighters who ran into the burning Grenfell Tower to save lives, and the NHS doctors and nurses who cared for the victims of all of these disasters with contempt.
Here’s the moment, captured on camera – see it for yourself:
OMG!! Tories cheering firefighters nurses police and armed forces pay rise rejected after everything that's happened pic.twitter.com/HeDTCFf4Ll
Commentators were quick to accuse the Tories and their newly-bribed friends, the DUP, pointing out that Theresa May found £1.5 billion to ensure she could remain as prime minister easily enough. Clearly the reason similar amounts aren’t available for nurses, firefighters, the police and all the others who actually work hard for the benefit of the UK is that Mrs May doesn’t think she needs them.
Tories won't vote to stop cutting pay of nurses, emergency workers, teachers every year but could easily magic up £1.5 billion for DUP votes
The report in the Huffington Post quotes her as follows:
Tory MP Heidi Allen – who would like to see the cap lifted – said she was unable to back Labour’s amendment as it was “too partisan”.
She also queried introducing a blanket pay rise for all public sector workers.
“Public services includes the very highest paid chief executives, managers, Whitehall chiefs too.
“I cannot support a blanket pay rise to all of those.
“We need to focus on those public sector workers such as nurses, healthcare assistants and all those on the front line.”
So she was falling back on the basic Tory strategy – ‘divide and rule’. She’ll happily agree to a pay rise for the lower-paid if it will upset those on higher grades. Why not agree a rise for all of them that is commensurate with the work they do?
Of course, we all saw straight through her mealy-mouthed excuse, right?
Poor justification Heidi ! Very disappointed in you – thought you were that rare being – a decent Tory – I was wrong, https://t.co/QAJUBL1s7r
Worse still are Johnny Mercer – who called the bid to scrap the cap a “political game” – and Gary Streeter, who actually had the arrogance to claim that those of us who spoke up for our valued doctors, nurses, fire and rescue services and police “don’t deserve” a say.
Hope you joined in the braying and laughter of your upper class Tory mates as they sent more Plymouth nurses to the food bank
We all know that Conservatives want a two-tier system in the UK, with the rich getting the best healthcare, security, law enforcement and so on that money can buy, and the rest of us having to make do with whatever we can afford.
Perhaps Tory MPs should get a taste of that system – whenever they need help from the police, the ambulance service, the fire and rescue service, or any other public sector worker.
Perhaps, when Tory MPs need help, their needs should be prioritised according to their actions – and they should be put at the end of the lengthening queue that they were determined to create.
A crucial vote is to take place tomorrow (Monday, December 15) on whether to annul the Coalition Government’s dangerous changes to firefighters’ pensions. The debate will begin at 4pm.
These are the changes that mean firefighters will not be eligible for their pensions unless they work until they are 60 years old – a tall order, considering many people in their 50s will fail the rigorous tests they must take to ensure they are fit for duty.
Anyone failing the test would be asked to leave the Fire and Rescue Service, meaning they would not be eligible for their pension. It’s a filthy cheat by the Conservative-led government, to take away the benefits for which these brave people have paid during their entire careers.
Labour tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM 454) to have the matter debated – and, to date, 281 MPs have signed in support of it, including 22 Liberal Democrats. To defeat the government, Firefighters would need to be sure of the support of at least 326 MPs – they are currently 45 short.
The Fire Brigades Union sees the role of the Liberal Democrats as potentially pivotal in the final arithmetic. If the support of enough Lib Dems is secured, and provided the support of the other opposition parties holds up, it will be possible to defeat the government. It only takes 326 votes.
Of course, it is not a foregone conclusion that every MP who signed the EDM will vote the same way – or even vote at all – so nothing can be taken for granted. That’s why it is crucial to apply pressure MPs in the short time left before the debate and vote, so Vox Political readers are urged to contact your MP, whether they have signed the EDM or not, and ask them to vote against the Government and in favour of our firefighters.
It will definitely mean the difference between a comfortable retirement after a life of service, and a struggle to survive during their twilight years for brave firefighters who have risked their lives many times for people like you.
It could mean the difference between life and death if you have to be rescued by a firefighter who has been forced to struggle under the new conditions.
Thanks to Anne Keen for bringing this to our attention. Here’s the list of MPs who have yet to sign the EDM. Please contact yours and demand their support in this matter.
Government plans to make us work until we’re 60 or lose pension entitlements puts everyone at risk. We deserve better and so do you, writes Jamie Newell in The Guardian.
I have lobbied, campaigned and crawled on my hands and knees to raise awareness of the risk the government’s pension proposals will have on the public. These proposals would see firefighters serve on the frontline until they are 60 instead of 55, as they do now.
We need to sound the alarm at the prospect of 60-year-olds arriving on the scene of emergency situations. It’s not just fires: we’re also talking about flooding, road traffic collisions and acts of terrorism.
The government’s own evidence highlights that a significant number of firefighters will be unfit to deal with these emergencies, due to natural ageing from the age of 55, where if we cannot pass the mandatory firefighter fitness test we face dismissal, or a significantly reduced pension.
All this, simply for getting older.
There is a lot more, all pointing to the claim that “firefighters have no choice but to strike”. It’s in the Guardian article so please give it a visit.
If you’re one of those who thinks firefighters are not justified in their battle with the government over pensions, just copy the image above and look at it until you realise that they are.
Strikes are being held in protest at changes to pensions and the retirement age, which the Fire Brigades Union has claimed could lead to firefighters losing their jobs if they fail fitness tests in their late 50s.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, asked in The Guardian: “How can it be remotely fair that the prime minister, already a millionaire, enjoys a far greater subsidy from his employer in absolute and proportional terms than a firefighter who is earning less than £30,000 a year? It is sickening hypocrisy.”
And TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “Once again the government is showing its contempt for public-service workers. Evidence warns that raising the normal retirement age for firefighters would lead to older fighters facing no job and no pension after years of good service.”
Still think the firefighters are wrong? Then look at the people arguing against them and ask yourself whether they belong to one of the groups that have, in recent times, committed expenses fraud, taken huge unjustified bonuses (consequently jeopardising the economy), or avoided paying huge amounts of tax – either personally or as representatives of one or several corporations.
You should be burning with rage at what our spiteful Tory-led government is planning to do to older firefighters – those who have spent most of their lives saving others.
If you are, it’s one blaze that our firefighters won’t be in a hurry to extinguish.
Additional: After this article was published, the following picture appeared on Twitter:
What do you think of people being sacked because they went on strike?
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