Category Archives: FBU Scotland

Scottish FBU Leader Urges Scottish Firefighters to Do More, Unlimited Amounts of Work – for Nothing!

Mr Roddy Robertson, the (not so) illustrious FBU EC member for Scotland, has taken to facebook in the wee small hours, in an attempt to prosecute his argument for supporting the creation of a Scottish Allowance for firefighters.

His comments do not exactly make for surprising reading, given they are more akin to the type of comments you would expect to hear from management, so no change from him there then.

Interestingly, and probably by mistake, he has inadvertently admitted that a Scottish Allowance would mean that management would be able to instruct any firefighter to do anything they like, as their role maps would be effectively ripped up as a consequence of a Scottish Allowance that would include a paltry additional responsibility payment within it.

His basic premise is that as firefighters are going to less fires, they need to look at doing other work as well. He argues that a Scottish Allowance would allow this to happen.

Well, of course it would! Management would have a field day ordering firefighters to do anything and everything they wanted, with workloads going through the roof!

As we have discussed on this Blog previously, an additional responsibility payment is paid to firefighters who carry out work that is not contained within their role map (job description). However, a Scottish Allowance would not only dramatically reduce that sum of money to those who currently receive it, but would mean that ALL other firefighters would be legally required to carry out any and all additional work designated to them by management, whether it was in their role map or not, effectively ripping the role maps up.

Why would anyone want to agree to that?!

Pathetically Mr Robertson also lambasts comments on social media that challenge and contradict his own twisted logic, yet uses social media to do so! Oh, the irony!

The bottom line here is that Mr Robertson and his lackies are yet again trying to pull the wool over the eyes of their members by trying to sell them an allowance that will see their job descriptions ripped up and their workloads increase, all so they can look good with management, employers and the Scottish Government!

It is nonsensical when he suggests that as ARAs are currently a removable allowance, management could at any time take them from those firefighrers who currently receive them. If that was to happen, those firefighters would be perfectly within their rights to stop carrying out the additional duties that the particular ARA payment covered, so it is highly unlikely management would remove these ARA payments as they would lose a number of key, specialists functions.

It is therefore a bluff, and not a very good one at that, which merely exposes the fact that Mr Robertson is being less than candid with his own members (what’s new)!

There is another more obvious issue. This year, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service needs to save £12M from their budget. Does anyone honestly think that in those circumstances, management would be giving firefighters additional money and not expecting anything back in return?! Think about it!

Chief Fire Officers throughout the UK have wanted rid of the role maps since they were created. They see them as restrictive as they limit what duties they can instruct firefighters to do. CFOs want the flexibility to be able to tell firefighters to do anything and everything that management want.

A Scottish Allowance is a golden opportunity for management in Scotland to be able to do just that. It’s what they’ve always wanted and the Scottish FBU Leaders, true to form, are making the arguments for them.

To make matters worse, Mr Robertson and his minions are yet again insulting the intelligence of their own members by trying sell this allowance by saying that it will put firefighters on £30K.

The 1% national pay increase that is expected to be accepted next month will put firefighters pay (including the CPD payment) to just £250 short of £30K. So this tells us that the value of the ARA part of the Scottish Allowance will only be £250.

A 1% pay increase next year would see firefighters attain that additional £250 plus more, putting the annual salary to just over £30K.

So the choice for Scottish FBU members is clear.

1. Wait a year to be on £30K, with no fundamental change to your Conditions of Service, Contract of Employment or Job Description (Role Map), or

2. Accept a Scottish Allowance now (which is only worth an additional £250 per year to those who do not currently receive an ARA payment, and which constitutes a pay cut to those who currently do) and rip up your Role Map, selling your soul to management, for them to tell you to do anything they want, whenever they want!

As the old phrase goes – It’s a No Brainer!

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Another Day, Another Sell-Out!!

Panic has certainly set in amongst the John Duffy camp. They are so terrified that Mr OBE is going to lose the current election for the post of Scottish Regional secretary, that their levels of desperation have now reached a new low.

It was recently revealed that Mr Roddy Robertson, EC member for Scotland, has been having clandestine meetings with senior SFRS managers, to discuss fast tracking a deal to implement a Scottish Allowance – an allowance that would encapsulate all current allowances received by firefighters (ie, CPD, ARAs, Travel Allowance, etc).

He is trying to get an agreement reached, so that he can sell it to FBU members as a huge success and associate the deal with Mr OBE, in a pathetic attempt to try to bolster his chances of gaining more votes in the current election ballot.

However, there are a couple of problems with this.

First of all, the election ballot papers have already been issued to members’ home addresses. It is a well know fact that the majority of ballot papers in home address ballots, are returned within the first 5 to 7 days, so it’s a bit late for Mr OBE to try to ingratiate himself with FBU members now!

More importantly, they are trying to portray the Scottish Allowance as something that it certainly is not.

For a start, as some sort of incentive, they are saying that if members accept a Scottish Allowance, a firefighter will then be on £30k. That being the case, let’s break down a firefighter’s pay and see exactly how much a Scottish Allowance represents.

Current Annual Salary: £28,766
Current CPD: £682*
Total: £29,488

*This figure is different in different areas, so we have used the Srrathclyde figure as an example to make the point.

Of course, there is a national pay rise overdue. Even if we apply the minimum likely increase of 1%, this would increase the overall salary to £29,742.

So, once a pay increase is applied, a Scottish Allowance would only be worth £252.

There are many members who currently receive an ARA payment for carrying out specific duties beyond the terms of their Role Map (Contract of Employment). Some members receive two such payments.

For those members, the introduction of a Scottish Allowance would represent a PAY CUT!

The members who do not currently receive any ARA payment would indeed see their annual salary increased by £252, however there is a huge price to pay for this rather paltry sum.

The fact that a Scottish Allowance would include a payment to members for carrying out ‘non-specified’ additional responsibilities, it means that SFRS management would be able to instruct any member to carry out any task at any time.

Members would be legally obliged to do so, because management would be remunerating them for doing so, albeit a trivial amount.

So, in effect, a Scottish Allowance would rip up the Role Maps!

FBU members’ workloads have been and continue to be on the increase. The key protection that members have against having that workload dramatically increased further are the terms contained within their Role Map.

To remove those protections, would open the floodgates, seeing workloads explode… and all for £252!

FBU members would be wise to think extremely carefully about the serious consequences of accepting such an allowance.

In the midst of huge budget cuts, SFRS management are not going to increase salaries without getting something back for it! This is not money for nothing! There is a huge price to pay for accepting this Allowance!

FBU members must ask themselves if that price it worth £252!

Yet again, FBU members see the Scottish FBU officials trying to sell out more of their conditions of service!

Yet again, FBU members see the Scottish FBU officials trying to portray another detrimental change to them, as a success!

Yet again, FBU members see the Scottish FBU officials colluding with management, to the detriment of their members, for their own personal gain.

We understand that this issue will be put to FBU members in the form of a consultative ballot.

If such a ballot takes place – Vote NO!

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Filed under FBU Elections, FBU Scotland, Fire Service Issues

Make Sure Those Pesky FBU Members Don’t Spoil Our Commonwealth Games and Our Independence Referendum, Mr OBE!!

In yet another pathetic attempt to raise his own profile in the midst of a serious challenge against him in the current election for the post of Scottish Regional Secretary, Mr John Duffy OBE has been making some public and very questionable comments in the press and on social media this week.

It started on Sunday, in an article in the Sunday Post, in which he raised concerns regarding the possibility of firefighters in Scotland taking part in an overtime ban during the period of the Commonwealth Games!

He said “If negotiations go on then, unfortunately, we will get dragged into having another overtime ban”.

Dragged into?! Is this not the industrial action short of a strike that FBU members in Scotland voted for?!!

It gets worse. He goes on to say “We are hopeful that no action will be taken during that period as we all need to appreciate this is a significant, global event, but it is a possibility.”

Well, he wouldn’t want to upset his pals in the Scottish Government by supporting his own members taking legitimate and legal action in pursuit of a decent pension would he?!

He then says “It would be ironic if, because of an overtime ban, the agreement we’d reached for the Games meant we couldn’t keep the day-to-day appliances on the run.”.

Day to day appliances” would be off the run because of the continued loss of frontline firefighter posts that Mr OBE and his cronies have done nothing to stop!

These are the frontline jobs that Mr OBE said his pals in the Scottish Government promised wouldn’t be lost as a consequence of moving to a single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, however the reality has seen significant cuts with many more scheduled to come.

So, rather than Mr OBE talking down his own members’ fight to safeguard their pensions, he should be leading them!

It has become obvious that he and his cronies do not want to ‘rock the boat’ with the Scottish Government ahead of the Commonwealth Games and the Independence Referendum! Is this yet another conflict of interest?!

The Chief Officer, Alasdair Hay, then made a statement that is fundamentally and completely inaccurate. He said “The industrial action being taken by the Fire Brigades Union relates to an ongoing dispute between the FBU and the UK Government.”

Wrong!

The Trades Dispute was registered with the Scottish Government (as well as UK, Welsh and Northern Irish Governments), who have regulatory control over Scottish Firefighters’ pensions. The Scottish Government made an offer on 17th September 2013, which Scottish firefighters have not accepted but which remains on the table. They wouldn’t make an offer in a dispute that was nothing to do with them, would they?!

Therefore the dispute with the Scottish Government continues, meaning that any industrial action short of a strike taken by Scottish firefighters is not action that they are being “dragged into”, but action they have voted to take in pursuit of the demands contained within the registered Trade Dispute!

The only people being “dragged into” the dispute is Mr OBE and his cronies!!

On Monday (23rd June 2014) a tweet from the FBU Scotland twitter account read Meeting with Scottish firefighters pensions forum, John Duffy, reg sec making the case to improve Scottish position, Sean Starbuck also atnd

Wait a minute! Mr OBE and his cronies have been telling FBU members since last September that the Scottish Government’s offer (or “deal” as the Scottish FBU leaders prefer to refer to it as) can’t be improved upon in Scotland without further concessions from Westminster!

Given that there have been no such concessions, on what basis are they now pursuing “improvements”?!

They forced through a highly questionable ballot designed to ensure that Scottish firefighters were taken out of taking strike action which has continued to be taken by firefighters in England and Wales, on the basis that a “deal” had been struck in Scotland”!

They have been telling Scottish FBU members that there have been no discussions on pensions with the Scottish Government for the past 9 months because they are merely awaiting the outcome of negotiations with the UK Minister!

Now, all of a sudden, after 9 months, they are meeting the Scottish Government to “make the case to improve the Scottish position”!

Why have they not been doing this for the past 9 months and why now?!!

Could this sudden meeting with the Scottish Government on pensions be anything to do with the developments in Northern Ireland, where the Northern Irish Government last week offered a new pension scheme to firefighters there, which has a Normal Pension Age (NPA) of 55yrs old?!

In the process of making that decision it should be noted that they rejected a Scottish Government type proposal as “such proposals have not been costed”!

So Mr OBE is telling Scottish FBU members that he is now speaking with the Scottish Government, 9 months after doing absolutely nothing, to try to improve upon a Scottish “deal” that he has been saying since last year was the best Scottish firefighters were going to get!

The tweet on the FBU Scotland twitter account, which by the way is administered by Mr OBE himself, also infers that he was the main man in this meeting, with Sean Starbuck merely accompanying him as a bit player.

Wrong!

Sean Starbuck is the National Officer who has been leading on the pensions dispute along with the General Secretary throughout the whole of the UK, since the dispute began.

Let’s not forget that Mr OBE was excluded from negotiations last year by the General Secretary due to concerns over his overly friendly relations with senior SNP politicians, which many members have long considered to be a clear conflict of interest.

Now, in a quite pitiful, as well as cynical attempt to raise his own profile and level of importance, he has exaggerated his own role in the negotiations with the Scottish Government.

He must really be panicking about losing the election, to stoop to such desperate measures!

The key question in all of this relates to the “assurances” of the Scottish Government last September, when they stated that if an improved offer is made elsewhere in the UK, then they would at least match it.

So, now that the Northern Ireland Government has shown that an NPA of 55yrs old is possible within the financial restrictions imposed by Westminster, is the Scottish Government going to stand by their promise and offer it to Scottish firefighters?!

We await with bated breaths!

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Filed under FBU Scotland, Pensions

FBU Executive Council Postpones Scottish District Elections

The ballotting of members in the elections currently being held in the Scottish Districts Nos 6 & 7 has been postponed by the FBU’s Executive Council and will now be re-run from the Union’s Head Office in London.

The decision has come after a multitude of complaints over the running of the elections by the Scottish FBU leaders were received by FBU Head Office from members and candidates alike.

The General Secretary had previously been tasked by the EC to look into the running of the Scottish elections due to the many concerns raised, and reported back his findings this week.

Consequently, the decision was made to postpone and take over the election.

We understand that the electoral services ‘Popularis’ will be used to send ballot papers to Union members’ home adresses. Members will then return their ballot paper directly to Popularis for them to conduct the official count.

Since the beginning of the District elections process, the running of the elections by the FBU Scottish leaders has been mired in controversy.

From intimidation of candidates to simple bare-faced cheating, and Head Office has had enough.

Now that the Scottish officials have finally been exposed and taken out of the process, Scottish FBU members can now have confidence that a proper and transparent election process will now be conducted from Head Office.

It also shows how far the Scottish FBU leaders’ reputation has sunk. Even the FBU EC and Head Office no longer trust them to conduct a basic election process. 

There is now the same low level of respect, trust and confidence amongst the national leaders as there is amongst Scottish members!

Oh how the (not so) mighty have fallen!

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FBU Spin Doctor Covers Up Jobs Sell-Out as Crewing Levels Victory!

Mr John Duffy OBE must be dizzy with all the spinning he’s doing!

In the past few weeks, Mr OBE has issued two press releases and a circular to members in Scotland, which is more than he has issued in the previous year!

You’d think he was standing in an election… oh wait, he is!!

His offerings, however, have been nothing short of disgraceful, as they compromise and mislead FBU members!

A few weeks ago, whilst the fire at the Glasgow School of Art was still burning, he issued a press release stating how well firefighters coped at the incident, even though the Service is in the midst of a package of frontline cuts!

So, Mr OBE tells the world that despite the ongoing cuts in the Service, firefighters can still cope with major incidents!

Brilliant argument for stopping the cuts John… NOT!

As if that wasn’t bad enough, in a press release issued today, he has called for a uniformed establishment level in the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to be agreed, even though he has been explicitly arguing against it for the past three years!

According to him, an establishment level was not needed, as his pals in the Scottish Government had assured him that there would be no cuts to the frontline. However, one year into the new Scottish FRS, the frontline cuts are taking hold, with more to come, and all of a sudden the solution according to Mr OBE is to try to get an establishment level agreed!

A bit late! Doh!

The Police ensured that an establishment level was in place before the amalgamation of the eight Police forces, which has protected frontline uniformed post in Police Scotland, but at the time Mr OBE agreed with SFRS management and the Scottish Government, that an establishment level wasn’t needed for the Fire Service!

What an idiot!

To make matters worse, in his recent press release, Mr OBE has announced that an agreement has been reached with SFRS management to maintain a crewing level of 5 riders on each of the first and second appliances (5&5) across the Strathclyde area.

However, we can confirm that this is NOT the case!

The Scottish FBU leaders have already secretly signed an agreement with management to apply 5&4 crewing levels across Scotland, which would be a reduction of the current crewing levels in Strathclyde, with the loss of approximately 200 frontline uniformed posts!

So, what Mr OBE is doing is dressing up an agreement to cuts jobs by giving the impression that he has managed to safeguard them!

So how is he doing it?

Special appliances that currently have a dedicated crew will change to a dual crewed arrangement, meaning that technically 5 riders could be available on second appliances.

For example, if a station currently has 5 riders on the first appliance, 5 riders on the second appliance and 2 riders on the special appliance, there would be a total crewing level of 12 riders required.

If the special appliance was changed to dual crewing, meaning that the 2 riders are removed and riders from the second appliance would then crew the special appliance should it be mobilised, then only a total of 10 riders would be required – 2 less than before!

Across the five watches in a station, this would constitute a loss of 10 posts in a station! Multiply this with the number of other stations that have special appliances, then you have a loss of many many frontline uniformed posts.

So rather than being the saviour of frontline uniformed posts, Mr OBE is agreeing to many being lost, but painting the sell-out as a victory!

Disgraceful!

Alistair Campbell would be proud of such spin!

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Filed under FBU Scotland, Fire Service Issues, Single Scottish Service

FBU President and General Secretary to Step In to Oversee Scottish Elections

As a consequence of many complaints being submitted to FBU head office about the current Scottish District elections, the Union’s national Executive Council has agreed that Matt Wrack, the FBU General Secretary and Alan McLean, the FBU President, will both get involved in ensuring that the Scottish officials comply with the recognised election process.

In a circular issued to Scottish FBU members, the General Secretary has stated that “As a result of the recent discussion at the Executive Council and the concerns raised, the President and I will be working with the Scottish Regional Secretary and other officials so as to assure members that correct procedures have been followed and the democratic rights of all members protected”.

This is a terrible indictment on the Scottish officials who are clearly no longer trusted by the Executive Council to run these elections themselves. As far as we are aware, it is the first time in living memory that national officials have had to step in to oversee regional elections due to members having a complete lack of trust in the officials running them.

Hopefully now, FBU members in Scotland can gain some confidence in the fact that the elections will now be overseen at the highest level and that the Scottish officials, who have a clear conflict of interest as they have a vested interest in the outcome of the elections, will not be left to their own devices!

Roll on the results!

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Scottish FBU Leaders’ Minion Admits to Cheating in Election!

In response to our previous posting on our Blog, where we reported that it has been alleged that Mr Billy “Turn” Coats may have been responsible for submitting a fraudulent nomination in the name of the Paisley branch, in the election for secretary of District 6, he initially attempted to rubbish these allegations.

At first, he stated that he couldn’t have submitted a fraudulent nomination because he hasn’t even seen a ballot paper, or issued one, or taken one back, even though ballot papers have nothing to do with the nomination stage of an election, as the ballot stage comes afterwards, making any reference to ballot papers irrelevant.

He then stated that he couldn’t have submitted a fraudulent nomination because he has just returned from a holiday abroad. Given that the nomination stage began on 19th March and ran for five weeks, closing on 23rd April, and given that he says he has just returned from holiday, is he saying that he has been on holiday for over 8 weeks?! Erm… unlikely.

However, irrespective of his previous lame attempts to deny any wrong-doing, with pathetic and irrelevant excuses, we understand that he has let it slip to another FBU member and finally admitted to another FBU member that a properly convened branch meeting in Paisley DID NOT take place, in order for the branch to formalise a nomination for Paul Donnelly.

So, as well as Mr Turn appearing to confirm that no meeting took place for a formal nomination to have been made, the date of any such meeting, that must be included in the official nomination form, must also then have been false.

Consequently, this means that the said nomination was submitted fraudulently, in other words, Mr Turn has CHEATED!

Surely a letter of resignation is in order!

The next question is – Did the Scottish FBU leaders know about it?!

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Threats, Intimidation and now Blatant Cheating – Elections, FBU Scotland Style!

For the past few months, FBU Scotland has been embroiled in a series of long-awaited elections.

Currently the Scottish District elections are underway, as well as that for the post of Scottish Regional secretary.

The nomination stage for the elections for Secretaries of the seven new Scottish districts ended recently with five of the positions being filled with individuals being nominated unopposed in their respective districts. In the other two districts however, the elections are now being contested in the form of a workplace ballot.

Given that the 14 district secretaries and chairs will eventually make up two-thirds of the new Scottish Regional committee, the Scottish FBU leaders have been desperately trying to get their own minions into these key positions, in order to maintain control of the committee, thus far with little success.

However, it’s not for the lack of trying, or should we say, threatening and intimidating.

Members who have had the audacity to stand for positions that the Scottish leaders’ want their pals to be in, have come under some disgraceful and quite frankly unacceptable attacks and abuse. They have been subjected to intimidation and threats from Scottish leaders and their cronies, who are trying to pressurise these members into withdrawing.

One individual did buckle under that pressure and withdrew at the last minute from accepting his nomination in district seven however another member stepped in and is now standing for the post of secretary there.

So who are the players in these two elections?

The two Scottish districts in question are numbers six and seven.

District Six covers branches in three SFRS Areas, namely Glasgow South; East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire & Inverclyde; and South Lanarkshire.

The members who received nominations from branches in these areas are Phil McDonald, the current acting Strathclyde Brigade Secretary and Paul Donnelly, the current acting Strathclyde Brigade Chair.

The Scottish FBU leaders have been doing everything they can to get their man elected – Paul Donnelly.

For those who do not know Paul Donnelly, he is a very willing and compliant long-standing supporter of the Scottish FBU leaders.

He was one of the officials who left in the middle of the Strathclyde Mass Meeting last November, to go to Celtic Park to enjoy some much needed corporate hospitality, despite over a hundred members taking the time and effort to attend the meeting, not to mention the General Secretary who had travelled all the way from London to be there.

Phil McDonald has been getting pressurised, side-tracked, compromised and even threatened. He has been working extremely hard to try to continue to properly and effectively represent members in Strathclyde, but has been getting continuously undermined by the Scottish FBU leaders in a pathetic attempt to make him look bad.

Their intimidation hasn’t worked, so they have now resorted to plain old cheating!

Ballot papers were issued to branches in district six last week. That was the first time the ballot papers had been seen, despite the fact that all of the candidates should have been given a draft copy for approval prior to them being printed and issued.

It has transpired that the ballot paper has been significantly tampered with by John Duffy OBE, the Scottish secretary, who is responsible for running the election.

Firstly, in the section that lists a candidates’ positions held, the position of “Acting Strathclyde Brigade Secretary”, a position that Mr McDonald currently holds, has been removed and replaced with the position of “Brigade Organiser”, a post that Mr McDonald doesn’t hold!

Interestingly, Paul Donnelly’s current position of “Acting Strathclyde Brigade Chair” has been kept in his list.

It gets worse. When Mr McDonald submitted his election address, it was laid out neatly, with titles, proper spacing between paragraphs and clear listed bullet points. However, when it found its way onto the ballot paper, all of those elements had been removed, with the wording all clumped together, leaving the address looking jumbled and unstructured.

Unsurprisingly, by comparison, the election address of Mr Donnelly is very neat and tidy and well laid out and structured with proper spacing, etc.

On top of all of that, Mr Donnelly makes claim in his election address that he was responsible for negotiating such agreements as an ARA payment for members in East Kilbride fire station who undertake line rescue duties and an instructors’ allowance for instructors at the new training centre in Cambuslang. All false!

This interference in the information contained on the ballot paper is a blatant and unashamed attempt to try to make Mr McDonald look bad in the eyes of FBU members, and to make Mr Donnelly look good by ensuring his election address looks better than Mr McDonald’s and by giving him credit for issues he had no part in.

District Seven covers branches in three SFRS Areas, namely East Ayrshire, North & South Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway.

The members who received nominations from branches in these areas are Ian Bryden, a long-standing and experienced member in Ayrshire, and Sami Chaudhry, the current D&G Brigade Secretary.

As with district six, the Scottish leaders have been doing everything they can to get their man elected in district seven – Sami Chaudhry.

Readers of this Blog will be well aware of Mr Chaudhry.

It is he who has been supporting SFRS management and advocating a reduction in the establishment levels in the Strathclyde area, to 5&4, which would see the loss of hundreds of jobs, as well as compromising the safety of firefighters and the public alike.

It is he who believes that ARA payments to members who are working additional duties beyond those contained within their role map, should be taken from them.

It is he who has given the Scottish FBU leaders his continued full support, including defending the decision to close five Fire Control rooms and supporting the detrimental changes to officers’ duty system.

Similar to their shenanigans in the district six election process, the Scottish FBU leaders and their cronies have been attempting to intimidate and undermine the candidacy of Ian Bryden, by levelling some outrageous and very personal attacks on him. Thankfully Mr Bryden, a well known and well respected member in Ayrshire, is having none of it and remains determined to contest the election to the end.

As if the intimidation of candidates and the tampering with ballot papers isn’t bad enough, in both elections the Scottish FBU leaders are now trying to further manipulate the process, as they have unilaterally decided to make a fundamental change to how the ballot is conducted in the workplace.

In workplace ballots, ballot papers are distributed to each branch, where the branch official, or designated member, issues the ballot papers to each branch member for them to vote. Each ballot paper is then placed in an individual envelope and returned to the branch official or designated member.

When all branch members have had the opportunity to vote, and all of their ballot papers have been completed, the branch official or designated member, is then responsible for returning all of the branch’s ballot papers in a single collective submission, to the Scottish Regional secretary.

However, instead of collectively returning the ballot papers from each branch, the Scottish FBU leaders have now decided that individual ballot papers are to be returned to the Scottish Regional offices by each individual member by post, using freepost envelopes.

This is unheard of in the history of workplace ballots.

Despite this postal element being introduced, branch members can still decide to return their ballot papers in the traditional manner, via the branch official or designated member.

Given that the Scottish FBU leaders have failed to, or refused to detail what happens to the ballot papers when they are returned to the Union offices in this manner, we strongly advice that all members return them on a collective basis, via their branch official or designation member.

As well as their disgraceful behaviour in the district elections, they are adopting similar tactics in the election for the post of Scottish Regional secretary. Nominations for this election, an election they tried to cancel, have begun.

Mr OBE is being challenged by a very competent, experienced and well respected official, Stevie Thompson, who is currently the brigade secretary in Central. Mr Thompson is being rubbished by the Scottish FBU leaders, despite his obvious abilities.

The actions of the Scottish FBU leaders in both of these election processes are a clear indication of how desperate they have become . They can see their power and control of the Union in Scotland slipping away from them and they are trying every sneaky underhand trick in the book to try to cling on to their corrupt regime.

The opportunity for Scottish FBU members to completely change their Union for the better has never been better than it is now.

A new group of district officials, who will properly reflect the views, wants, needs, concerns and aspirations of their members, as well as challenge the cuts agenda of SFRS management and the Scottish Government, would transform the Scottish Regional committee and give members a much needed say in the future of their own pay & conditions and the fire service in general.

In the next 12 months, there is also the very real opportunity to put in place new Scottish FBU leaders. One of them is already gone (Paul Wilson). Mr OBE is likely to be next. Following them, elections for the positions of Scottish Regional chair and EC member for Scotland early next year, could see Alan Paterson and Roddy Robertson finally removed.

It has been decades since Scottish FBU members have been presented with such an opportunity to completely re-shape and change the direction of their Union.

It’s an opportunity not to be missed.

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Filed under FBU Elections, FBU Scotland

The Honourable and the Despicable

A tremendous example of excellent Trade Union work was displayed this week and reminded us all what the true function of an effective Trade Union official is – proper and successful representation!

Unfortunately, also on display was the darker side of the Union, a side FBU members in Scotland have been seeing only too often, and for far too long, from their illustrious Scottish leaders.

At a disciplinary appeal hearing, Stevie Thompson, the Central Brigade Secretary, represented a member who had recently been sacked from the service. The member appealed the decision and Mr Thompson argued the case on behalf of the member, to members of the Scottish Fire Board, who were hearing the appeal.

It was a very difficult case and Mr Thompson had his work cut out for him. However, against the odds, not only did Mr Thompson persuade the Board to reinstate the member, but invoked criticism towards SFRS management from some Board members.

It was a fantastic result for which Mr Thompson rightly deserves high praise!

Unfortunately, that praise has not been forthcoming from the leadership of the Union in Scotland. In fact the opposite has been the case.

In the run up to the appeal being heard, not only did Mr Robertson (EC Member for Scotland) and Mr Duffy OBE (Scottish Regional Secretary) offer Mr Thompson absolutely no assistance, but insisted that he was wasting his time, suggesting that he had no chance of getting the member reinstated.

In the aftermath of the hearing, the word spread of Mr Thompson’s achievement and attracted much praise from officials and members across Scotland.

In reaction to this, however, the Scottish Chair, Mr Alan Paterson, circulated a communication inferring that the credit for the result should be going to Messers Robertson and OBE, as “it was they who did all the work behind the scenes” with Board members, prior to the hearing taking place!

This utterly contemptible and pathetic attempt to steal the credit for the success of a hard working official, yet again highlights what despicable and desperate individuals occupy FBU Scotland HQ!

There is a train of thought that Messers Robertson and Duffy were hoping that the member’s appeal failed, in order to rubbish Mr Thompson and use it to undermine him.

Why would this be?

Could their desire to impugn Mr Thompson and attempt to steal the limelight away from him have anything to do with the fact that Mr Thompson has indicated that he is challenging Mr OBE by accepting nominations for the post of Scottish Regional Secretary in the current election?

The timing of Mr Thompson’s success couldn’t be worse for Mr OBE. The last thing he needs is being challenged by a credible candidate who has had a very recent and significant success that members will recognise, acknowledge and praise.

What recent successes can Mr OBE cite in response? We can’t think of any!

What we can think of is his involvement in creating the Single Service that is a platform for cuts, the closure of Fire Control rooms and loss of Fire Control operators’ jobs, the introduction of a terrible officers’ duty system against the officers’ express wishes, and the haemorrhaging of members in Scotland during his time in post.

So, it looks like Mr OBE has a fight on his hands!

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Filed under FBU Elections, FBU Scotland, Fire Service Issues

The Shameless Hypocrisy of the Scottish FBU leaders!

On 1st March 2014, FBU Scotland tweeted that Suffolk FBU were highlighting in their local press the fact that a merged Fire Control Room in Cambridgeshire had mobilised crews to an incident in a village in Suffolk, when the actual incident had taken place in a village of the same name in Norfolk (see tweet below).

1st Mar'14 - FBU Scotland Tweet

Suffolk FBU were re-affirning the national FBU’s long-standing argument and concerns, contained within numerous Conference policies and prosecuted by Officials throughout the UK for the past ten years, that local knowledge in Fire Control rooms is absolutely vital and that to merge them, will lose that vital knowledge and lead to potentially life threatening errors being made.

In tweeting the link to press article you would have resumed that FBU Scotland was assisting in highlighting the absurdity of merging Fire Control rooms and supporting the arguments against such mergers.

But how can this be?!

Only last year, the Scottish FBU leaders never lifted a finger to try to stop the loss of five Fire Control rooms in Scotland. Indeed, their first reaction to the proposals to close them, wasn’t to campaign against the loss, but to immediately enter into discussions regarding relocation and redundancy packages for Fire Control Operators!

So why, six months later, were they still promoting the campaign against mergers of Fire Control rooms, when they had abandoned that very campaign themselves?!

To make matters worse, only ten days after tweeting about the incident in Suffolk, the FBU Scottish Secretary, Mr John Duffy OBE (an honour awarded to him by the establishment who are ripping up Firefighters’ pensions and cutting Fire Services throughout the UK), gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee, and stated that local knowledge was not a concern!

Let’s remind ourselves of his comments:

Christine Grahame (SNP) (Convener): “The public would like to know whether you have any views on how the proposed closure of control rooms might affect the delivery of fire and rescue services in their communities. Do you think that there may be any possible impacts on the delivery of the service to the public?”

John Duffy (Fire Brigades Union Scotland):Where they are located will have no bearing on the level of service that the public get.”

Christine Grahame (SNP) (Convener): “There will be no delays or words that someone does not understand?”

John Duffy (Fire Brigades Union Scotland):No.”

Christine Grahame (SNP) (Convener):It can be difficult for people from Edinburgh to know what someone from Hawick is saying—not that I represent Hawick. It is a strong accent and there have been issues before about people in control rooms that are not local simply not understanding what someone is saying… it is about not just accents, but local knowledge as well, such as knowing where a farm is.”

John Duffy (Fire Brigades Union Scotland):Nobody is born with local knowledge; it is developed as people work and train, and it reflects on the professionalism of our members that they do the job. Just now, we have control rooms that cover huge land masses, and they manage perfectly well because that professionalism is embedded into the individuals. It is their job and it is how they deliver that service. There is no magic formula for that.”

So, despite tweeting about tje situation in Suffolk, which was highlighting the need for dedicated Fire Control rooms with Control Operators with local knowledge, Mr OBE in an act of gross hypocrisy, argued just ten days later that it was NOT required!

Unbelievable!

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Filed under FBU National, FBU Scotland, Single Scottish Service, Uncategorized