Voluntary Sector: Taking Action ... Firefighters vs The Government and chief fire officers

Protesters: The Fire Brigades Union
Target: The Government and chief fire officers
Location: Westminster
Date: 17 November

THE LOWDOWN

About 2,000 firefighters from across the country descended on London to protest that 10,000 jobs could be lost because of the Government's spending cuts.

- Why the protests?

The protest followed announcements from the not-for-profit Fire Brigades Union (FBU) that the Government's cuts decision could lead to co-ordinated strike action. The union called the cuts 'complete lunacy', warning they could threaten the safety of the public. FBU general secretary Matt Wrack told the BBC that frontline jobs had been cut under Labour, while back-office positions and chief officer teams had increased. He criticised politicians and chief fire officers for sitting back while the service was 'dismantled'.

- How did the Government respond?

Fire Minister Bob Neill defended the Government, telling The Northern Echo: 'The reduction in funding to the fire and rescue service is smaller than other areas and we believe that savings are achievable through increased efficiency.' But he added: 'We are committed to an open and ongoing dialogue and welcome the opportunity this lobby presents for a constructive discussion.'

- Media treatment

National press and TV covered the protest, while regional newspapers also picked up on local firefighters heading to London.

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