Now that Mr OBE has left the building in humiliation, his erstwhile compatriots, rather than acknowledging, reflecting and learning from Duffy’s crushing defeat and the unambiguous message that the Scottish FBU members have overwhelmingly sent to all of them, are still remaining defiant, blaming everyone and anyone else for their ills and point blank refusing to accept any responsibility for their actions.
FBU members will have read with disgust the recent article in the Sunday Herald, where Roddy Robertson, the Executive Council member for Scotland, aired his dirty laundry in public and levied a personal attack on the General Secretary in an act of, what can only be described as totally reckless selfishness and self agranding narcissism, which has only led to his and his cohorts’ embarrassment and a re-affirmation that his time as a FBU Union leader is now surely coming to an end.
It was an act of desperation and self destruction, designed to damage the reputation of the Union and the General Secretary in particular, that cannot be tolerated or defended by any self respecting Union member or official.
He handed over internal emails to the press for the purpose of attacking the General Secretary and suggested that the Union was “embroiled in a civil war“. Such behaviour is indefensible and clearly counterproductive to the interests of the Union.
There is indeed a civil war going on, however not between Scotland and England, but between Scottish Union members and the Scottish leaders who have been pursuing their own personal and political agendas at the cost of their members’ jobs and conditions of service.
The General Secretary got involved because he had been inundated with complaint after complaint from Scottish members over the behaviour of the Scottish leaders.
So rather than “interfering“, the General Secretary rightly intervened, at the request of Scottish members, in order to try to get matters back on track in Scotland.
Ironically, the Sunday Herald article highlights one of the key issues where Robertson and his cohorts have been causing complete confusion and, quite frankly, spreading untruths and inaccuracies, whilst trying to cover their tracks by attacking and blaming the General Secretary.
Even now, Robertson is still perpetrating the same old nonsense regarding the pensions situation in Scotland and trying to mislead, not only his own members, but the general public.
He again inferred that the Union in Scotland had agreed a deal with the Scottish Government on Scottish firefighters’ pensions, which as Scottish FBU members are well aware, is simply not the case.
The Scottish Government’s proposals in September 2013 (which is all they were) still had a normal pension age of 60yrs old. Whilst firefighters could retire from 55yrs old, there would be huge penalties for doing so, with as much as 20% of a firefighters pension being lost.
Robertson also suggested that an agreement had been reached that would ensure that firefighters would not face dismissal and lose their pensions if they failed to pass the Service’s fitness test.
However, when the Scottish Government produced their draft Regulations last month, this key element was not included in it!
This provoked the General Secretary to write to the Scottish fire minister to demand an explanation and insist that their promise formed part of the Regulations.
Thus far, the Regulations have not been amended accordingly.
So, for nine months, Scottish FBU leaders did absolutely nothing to try to pursue the outstanding issues in the Trade Dispute with the Scottish Government, saying that the offer couldn’t be improved upon. They manufactured the most contrived ballot in the history of ballots in order to remove Scottish members from national strike action.
Then, all of a sudden in June, they announced that they were going to have “positive talks” with the Scottish fire minister and that it would be “inappropriate” to engage in industrial action whilst these talks were ongoing, which happened to be during the period of the Commonwealth Games.
After the decision was made not to call industrial action in Scotland, the Regulations were published, which fell way short of what was promised last September.
So, far from everything being rosey in Scotland, there is much to fight for.
However, the key consideration for Robertson and Duffy was never the members they represented, but the agreement they had with their political masters not to cause any trouble in the run up to the referendum on independence.
They readily complied, however it didn’t stop Service management continuing on with their cuts agenda, which progressed without so much as a whimper from Robertson and Duffy.
Now that Duffy is gone and Robertson is now completely marginalised, it now falls on Thomson, with the support of the regional committee, to sort the whole mess out.
He has a mammoth task ahead of him. Fixing the years of damage caused by his predecesor won’t be easy nor will it be done overnight.
He will need time and support. However it is unlikely that he’ll get either from the other bitter regional officials and their minions.
We wish him well and good luck. He’ll need it.