Category Archives: FBU Scotland

Decision to Delay Election for Post of Scottish Regional Secretary is Overturned! 

As FBU members will be aware, last month the Executive Council decided to postpone the scheduled election for the post of Scottish Regional Secretary. 

The four year term of the current post holder, Mr OBE, ends in June 2014 meaning that the election process should have begun in February 2014 (16 weeks prior).

However, at the behest of Roddy Robertson, Executive Council member for Scotland, the EC acceded to his request to postpone the election until September, a full seven months over the prescribed four year term, citing that Mr OBE was “needed” to oversee the Scottish District elections.

As a consequence of that decision, complaints were submitted from Scottish members to the General Secretary, calling for the election to go ahead immediately, otherwise they would refer the matter to the Certification Officer, complaining that the Union was failing to comply with its own rules.

The Certification Officer is a legal officer, appointed by the Government to oversee Trade Unions and ensure they comply with legislation and their own rules.

On receiving these complaints, the General Secretary sought legal advice, which we believe raised serious concerns over the EC’s ability to defend their decision, should it be referred to the Certification Officer.

Given this advice, the General Secretary referred that matter back to the Executive Council, when they met on Tuesday 25th March 2014.

The EC acknowledged the legal advice and consequently overturned the decision to postpone the election. 

Mr Robertson was less than pleased at this and his behaviour is reported to have been “disgraceful”.

In trying to persuade his fellow EC members to maintain the postponement of the election, rather than reiterating his previous “reasons”, he instead stated that the election now needed to take place after the Scottish Independence Referendum, as Mr OBE is a prominent member of the SNP and the election would be “political”!


Here we have a Union leadership in Scotland, who have engaged in an incestuous “partnership” with the SNP Government, which has saw them being complicit in the loss of uniformed frontline jobs, the loss of five Control Rooms, the implementation of new detrimental duty systems, with further cuts to firefighter jobs and pay just round the corner.

They have utilised their positions in the Union to accommodate and immerse themselves in their own political agendas with the SNP.

Yet, here they are now complaining that it may be unfair for an election process to go ahead during a national debate on the SNPs central policy!

Staggering hyprocracy! 

Well, you reap what you sow!

The timetable for the election is yet to be decided, however it could begin as early as next week. This would mean that the whole election process would conclude by the end of July 2014.

The members who pursued this matter should be congratulated. They stood up against the Union machinery and won!

They showed that ordinary members CAN make a difference and CAN hold their representatives to account! Well done!

Now Mr OBE is on borrowed time! 


Filed under FBU Elections, FBU National, FBU Scotland

Does John Duffy OBE Support the Retention of all Eight Fire Control Rooms in Scotland?… Yeah, but No, but Yeah, but No!

We reported this week on the evidence given by John Duffy OBE to the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee, where he sided with Fire Service managers and supported the closure of Fire Control rooms in Scotland and the loss of FBU members’ jobs!

Further to this, we have come across a report from a meeting of the Scottish Parliament Public Petitions Committee, held on 29th September 2004, where John Duffy answered questions on the then proposals by Mott McDonald to reduce the number of Fire Control Rooms in Scotland from eight to either three, two or one.

Tayside FBU had submitted a Petition calling for the retention of all eight Fire Control Rooms in Scotland. Mr Duffy, along with Jim Malone and Libby Logan, who were all Tayside Officials at that time, all gave evidence to the Committee.

On reading the official report of that session, it makes Mr Duffy’s comments at the Justice Committee this week even more incredible.

In 2004, John Swinney MSP was a constituency MSP and was very supportive of the Tayside Petition, opposing the reduction of Fire Control Rooms.

His started by saying:

Mr John Swinney (North Tayside) (SNP):  “I visited Tayside’s fire control centre. I was struck by two things. First, the significance of the depth of local knowledge that was retained by the people who were operating the fire control centre that day—in a large rural area, such as the one that I represent, that is of fundamental importance.”

Secondly, to my layman’s eye, the intensity of the pressure under which those people were operating at a time of high demand on the service was quite beyond comprehension. Based on what I saw that day, I believe that, if a number of incidents happened throughout Scotland, the strength and speed of the response would be diminished if there were only one, or even three, fire control centres in the country.”

I support the petition… it is fair to say that, although the FBU is presenting the petition today, there is broad political and stakeholder support for the position that has been outlined this morning.”

In response, John Duffy stated: “In Scotland, people’s accents and language are quite distinct. Gaelic place names are an issue, especially in the Highlands and Islands. Getting someone outwith a particular Highlands and Islands district even to understand such a name can be difficult and there are local nicknames for places that do not appear on the map. Such knowledge is passed down from generation to generation in a control room and it could not possibly all be recorded on a computer.”

There is a temptation to say that technology is the answer to everything, but we simply could not programme in all the knowledge that the control operators keep.”

In complete contrast, at the Justice Committee meeting that took place this week (on 11th March 2014), Mr Duffy’s response to very similar points put to him, were markedly different.

The exchange went like this:

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 according to Mr Duffy in 2004, it was imperative to retain all eight Fire Control rooms in Scotland, as any reduction would compromise local knowledge and create language & dialect barriers that computers could not overcome.

Now, in 2014, he no longer any of these issues to be relevant!

In 2004, Jackie Baillie MSP stated “I want to test what you are saying against some of what the Justice 2 Committee has been hearing. People have talked to that committee about resilience and new dimensions work, which amounts to an expansion of what the fire service does. There is a recognition that some of the control rooms could be targeted or could crash. We have one major control room in Strathclyde, which handles 48 to 50 per cent of all calls in Scotland. If something happened to that control room, is there another control room that could cope adequately with the task of absorbing those calls? I do not think that there is.”

In response, John Duffy said “In New York, after what happened on 9/11, the decision has been taken to move from having one central control room to having five of them, so the idea of putting all your eggs in one basket does not sit evenly with the concept of resilience.”

At the moment operators occasionally come across addresses that they do not know and have to locate, but that would happen much more often in a national control centre.”

We refer to the intervention window, which is determined by the time from the call coming in to the fire engines turning up. If that time between call and response is increased, people’s chances of surviving an incident are diminished. Whatever we can do to increase the intervention window benefits the caller, because they are the person trapped. The sooner the fire engines get there for them, the better.”

In a local control room, where operators have local knowledge, far fewer supplemental questions are asked.”

Yet, in 2014 not only did he not make any of these points, which are just as relevant today as they were ten years ago, he argued against them!!

What has taken place this week, and witnessed for all to see, is the complete abandonment of long standing FBU national policies, which underpin the FBU Campaign to fight against the reduction and amalgamation of Fire Control Rooms anywhere in the UK.

Mr Duffy and his chums in the Scottish FBU leadership, have without a doubt, unilaterally went against those Union policies and have compromised the same fight in England & Wales!

More importantly, they have sided with Fire Service managers who are cutting frontline services, and are supporting management’s cutting of FBU members’ jobs!

This shows, as if any further evidence was needed, that the Scottish FBU leaders are working against the best interests of their members and are nothing more that management puppets.

And there’s more to come. Fire Service managers are like to reduce Crewing levels in the very near future, with the loss of possibly hundreds of front line firefighters jobs.

Will the Scottish FBU leaders launch a campaign to fight against this? Don’t hold your breath.

We see another “Joint Statement” in the pipeline!

Partnership working in action!

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Filed under FBU Scotland, Political Matters, Single Scottish Service

The Cat is Finally Out the Bag – The Fire Control Rooms Sell-Out!

A significant event took place this week at the Scottish Parliament.

The Justice Committee met on Tuesday 11th March and invited Fire Service employers, managers and employee representatives to give evidence on Fire Service Reform.

The representative from the Fire Brigades Union was John Duffy OBE.

His contribution confirmed what many many members have believed for long enough. His comments were not only illuminating, but were at times both disturbing and alarming, as he finally confirmed, in the most public of arenas (as if confirmation was needed) that he most definitely has an extremely unhealthy relationship with employers and management and is definitely not acting in the interests of FBU members in Scotland.

In fact, when you heard him speak, you would be forgiven if you mistook him for a member of senior management!

Two of the issues that stood out during the session were with regard to the closure of Fire Control rooms and the Partnership Working Agreement.

Elaine Murray MSP asked Mr OBE about the decision to close Fire Control rooms. In addition, the Convener (Christine Grahame MSP) raised concerns in line with the long standing FBU arguments regarding the loss of local knowledge and the dialect and language barriers that Control Operators would inevitably face as a consequence of having to take calls and mobilise resources from hundreds of miles away, which could affect service delivery and ultimately could compromise the safety of communities.

A great opportunity for Mr OBE to grasp and use to prosecute those very arguments!

So, did he grasp them? Er… no!

In fact, he did the opposite!

  • He stated that it didn’t matter how many Fire Control rooms there were or where they were located.
  • He stated that it didn’t matter where Fire Control Operators worked or where they came from.
  • He stated that language & dialect barriers where not an issue!

Really? Since when?

In 2004, Mott McDonald published a report proposing to reduce the 46 Fire Control rooms in England & Wales down to just nine. The following year, they published a second report, this time regarding Scottish Fire Control rooms, and proposed that the eight Fire Control Rooms here should be reduced to either three or one.

Right from the start, the FBU across the UK took a strong stance to defend the Fire Control rooms, and developed arguments based on the retention of local knowledge and the difficulties that would be created with language & dialect barriers, amongst other arguments.

This has been FBU Conference policy for almost 10 years!

In 2007, those very arguments helped to stop the reduction of Scottish Fire Control rooms taking place, with all eight being saved.

Now, just over six years later, those effective and well rehearsed arguments have been disregarded and ignored!

At the Scottish Parliament this week, Mr OBE clearly expressed the Scottish FBU leaders’ unilateral and brazen abandonment of that long standing Union policy, replacing it with the very arguments that have been prosecuted by the Government and employers for years!

He also went on to admit that discussions between Scottish FBU leaders and management regarding Fire Control room closures and the loss of Fire Control Operator jobs had been ongoing for quite some time, well before the Strategic Intent document was published in September (the document that proposed the closure of six Fire Control rooms).

He stated that “work had been going on to consider the best option for control rooms, including what would happen to the people who would be displaced”.

So not only did he already know that Fire Control rooms were going to close well in advance of the proposals being made public, he was also in the process of negotiating the loss of Control Operators jobs without telling them!

An incredible admission and one which is contrary to what he has been telling FBU members up to now (ie: we didnae know!)!

As if this wasn’t bad enough, when Pat Watters (the Chair of the SFRS Board) was questioned about the Partnership Working Forum, which he chairs, he stated that “there has been little controversy at that committee”.

He stated that at meetings of the forum, reports were “nodded through rather than discussed” which he considered meant that discussions and meetings that were taking place between management and the Union prior to issues going to the Partnership Working Forum, where “going on quite well”!

Reports and agreements going through on the nod?!… Little controversy?!… Discussions going well?!…

  • The closure of five Fire Control Rooms – Little controversy?! Going well?!
  • The loss of Fire Control Operator jobs – Little controversy?! Going well?!
  • The loss of Middle Manager jobs – Little controversy?! Going well?!
  • The introduction of the new detrimental Flexi Duty Officers’ Duty System - Little controversy?! Going well?!
  • The 200 frontline firefighter jobs that will soon be lost when the crewing levels are dropped in the West to 5&4 – Little controversy?! Going well?!

There is much more pain to come and at this rate, management will continue to have an open goal to cut and slash jobs, reduce resources and make further detrimental changes to FBU members’ pay and conditions of service, all with the willing participation and cooperation of their “partners” at the top of the FBU in Scotland!

If ever FBU members needed to change their representatives at the top of the Union, it is now, before any more damage is done.

Of course, they have managed to manipulate the election process, with the help of their friends on the Executive Council, meaning that it will now be at least next year before there will be an opportunity for FBU members to elect a new Scottish Secretary.

However, hot on the heels of that election, will be the election for the post of Scottish Regional Chair and then for the vacant post of Executive Council member once the completely useless and paranoid ridden Mr Robertson finally retires!

So, a complete change to the very top of the Union is very likely, but won’t come soon enough!

Unfortunately, in the meantime, the current incumbents can, and probably will, inflict even more damage before FBU members get the chance to get rid of them once and for all!


Filed under FBU Scotland, Political Matters, Single Scottish Service, Uncategorized

Smoke and Mirrors in the Parallel World of FBU Scotland

In our previous post, we highlighted comments made by Scottish FBU leaders, which gave us all an insight into their minds and their world – a world that sees them blameless and everyone else at fault; a world that sees it acceptable for them to level personal abuse at anyone who dares to disagree with them; a world where their pursuit of their own personal and political agendas, to the detriment of FBU members best interests, is acceptable and not up for criticism.

Following on from this, a Circular has been issued to all Scottish FBU members from Roddy Robertson, the EC member for Scotland.

The circular is an astonishing read!

Disturbingly, it highlights the fact that Mr Robertson and his minions live in a parallel universe, one where everything in the Scottish Fire Service and the Scottish FBU is wonderful and where they are the saviours of FBU members across a utopian Scotland!

In just a few pages, Mr Robertson has rewritten history, as well as the present, in a futile attempt to portray himself and his minions as an effective and successful team, bringing riches and rewards to FBU members across Scotland!

Unfortunately, for him, his synopsis is nothing more than an insult to the intelligence of every FBU member, who all know exactly what has been going on, as they have been at the receiving end of it and suffered as a consequence of their Scottish representatives’ actions and inactions!

So, let’s look at the world according to Mr Robertson.

He begins his circular by stating that the move to a single service in Scotland “was a political decision supported by Labour, Conservative and the Scottish National Party within their manifesto’s”.

What he failed to mention was that it was the Scottish FBU leaders who unilaterally lobbied the politicians for at least a year before the manifestos were written in order to get the political Parties to support the move to a single service. He also failed to mention that the Labour and SNP manifestos both contained quotes from FBU Scotland calling for support for a single service.

All of this occurred before the political decision was made!

It is also important to point out that apart from the politicians and the Scottish FBU leaders, no one else wanted a single service – no one!

So, the single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has the finger prints of Mr Robertson and Mr Duffy all over it! Consequently, the responsibility for the detrimental changes that have and continue to take place as a consequence of the formation of the single service, lie squarely at their door!

It is typical, of course, that they try to hide behind others, in this case the politicians, and refuse to take any responsibility for their own actions.

Mr Robertson’s circular then goes on to give similar surreal reflections on past and current issues.

Towards the end, he summarises that “we have achieved a number of major successes” then goes on to list them.

As you will see, they are nothing more than an attempt at applying “Smoke and mirrors” to a series of failures, by putting a completely different slant on the reality of what is going on.

Let’s look at the “major successes” he refers to:

  • no compulsory redundancies

There have been no “compulsory” redundancies yet, however, plenty of redundancies, which were previously unheard of in the Fire Service in Scotland.

Scottish officials are currently negotiating redundancy packages for control operators, as a consequence of their failure to oppose the closure of five Fire Control Rooms.

Indeed, their first reaction to the news that management were proposing to close Fire Control Rooms, wasn’t to oppose the closures, but to seek redundancy packages (as contained within Mr OBE’s email, previously reported on this Blog).

There have also been a multitude of non uniform redundancies, with more to come. Many uniformed personnel will be expected to undertake the work previously carried out by those redundant non uniformed staff and no doubt without any additional pay!

So redundancies have had and will continue to have a direct and indirect affect on FBU members, compulsory or not!

  • no fire station closuresno loss of any pumps

They must have forgotten about the busiest single pump fire station in Scotland that covered some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the UK – Parkhead! It was closed with the loss of 28 frontline jobs.

There has also been Appliances lost through the introduction of ARPs and the dual crewing of special appliances, which has led to the downgrading of stations and the reduction of frontline posts across the Service.

Strangely enough, he failed to mention that many stations now have pumps with less firefighters on them and appliances that are now dual crewed, which previously had dedicated crews.

Year three of the five year reform period (2015/16) is the year when it has always been envisaged the cuts will be worse and when frontline resources will be more directly affected.

So, there is much more pain to come!

  • an increase from 2 to 3 for our emergency fire control

This is the most disgraceful comment of them all and is an insult to FBU members and Fire Control operators in particular!

There are currently eight Fire Control Rooms in Scotland. Five will now be closed, with the loss of many many control operator jobs. The Scottish FBU leaders did nothing to try to save them – nothing!

It was down to the resolve and determination of Control Operators themselves that resulted in convincing the Fire Board to amend management’s proposal to close six Control Rooms, to five.

To try to sell the loss of five Fire Control rooms as an “increase” and consider it a “major success” is absolutely shameful!

  • no change in station duty systems

The old Strathclyde FRS began the transformation to 5GDS in 2010, which led to the loss of 40 jobs.

It is a well known fact that the Scottish FRS is looking to roll out 5GDS across Scotland. This will see further frontline firefighter jobs lost, which is the main driver for the introduction of 5GDS in the first place.

So duty systems have changed with more changes to come!

  • min crewing of 4 for all RDS appliances

This was already in place and has been for some considerable time.

  • no cross border involvement during any industrial action by English members

The fact that FBU members in Scotland should have also been on Strike at the same time as their English and Welsh colleagues is the main issue here.

The decision to conduct a Consultative Ballot and then to lobby members to vote YES, is the biggest single mistake in the pensions dispute. It has caused the biggest split in the Union and will ultimately see the failure of the dispute, leaving the bulk of members having to work until they are 60 years old.

  • an interim fitness policyno dismissals for failing fitness

The Scottish FBU leaders have been banging on about how the Scottish Government’s proposals regarding pensions (remember it’s not an “agreement”, it’s not a “deal”, it’s only a proposal) states that anyone who fails the fitness test will either be offered retirement, ill health retirement or re-deployment, and will not be faced with dismissal.

However, the interim fitness policy does contain a facility for management to do just that!

In the list of options, management can treat an individual’s failure to pass the fitness test as “a performance issue”, which opens the door to the discipline process and capability!

So, the Scottish Government have an offer on the table to remove the threat of dismissals, yet the Scottish FBU leaders have went on to negotiate an interim policy with management that includes it!


  • 2 recruits courses last year and one planned for this year

This is completely inadequate and a drop in the ocean to what is actually required. These courses do not even match the number of people retiring, never mind make up the shortfall of well over 100 frontline jobs that require to be filled.

So, the one course planned for this year will need to have about 200 recruits on it! Otherwise, it will be completely insufficient!

  • reduction in overtime to NJC level

The lifting of the overtime ban after the national pay dispute in 2002/3 opened the door to Fire and Rescue Service to reduce establishments. Since then jobs have been lost and those left have worked additional hours to cover the shortfall.

Whether people like it or not, overtime is here to stay.

The key way to reduce it is to employ enough people to fill the vacant posts, but that’s not going to happen. The cuts are taking us in the opposite direction. As stated above, there aren’t anywhere near enough recruits being employed in order to bring the establishment back up to full compliment.

Financially, it is more cost effective to have a reduced establishment and use overtime to cover the shortfall, so there is simply no incentive for management and employers to employ more personnel.

So how else can the overtime budget be cut?

Well, increasing dual crewing across the Service is one way, but the most effective will be to reduce the crewing levels.

As we already know, the Scottish officials are in the process of agreeing to just that! The unelected Mr Chaudhry is leading the charge for FBU Scotland to reduce the crewing levels in the Strathclyde area, which would see the loss of up to 200 frontline jobs! – That’s 200 jobs!

So there might not be station closures (yet) but there are definitely far less firefighters in those stations and that number is likely to dramatically fall!

  • a mobility clause and no transfer and matching policy for senior officers

No doubt there will be many senior officers reading that and screaming!!

It was agreed almost a year ago, that the A and B elements of all Watch, Station and Group manager roles would be amalgamated to create a single element role, with all personnel in those new roles being moved to the B rate of pay.

Despite the Chief Officer since reiterating this, it still hasn’t happened. At the same time, adverts for promotions to roles at the B rate of pay are being published, which would see Station Managers being promoted to Group Manager B roles, above current Group Managers at the A rate of pay.

What are the illustrious FBU leaders doing about it? Nothing!

Of course, the major issue for Flexi Duty Officers has been the new Flexi Duty System, that the Scottish officials agreed to with management, against the express wishes of the officer members.

Consequently, those officers are now working a ridiculous amount of hours and their numbers are reducing.

Again, the Scottish officials are doing nothing! Well, they created it, after all!

The matter was the subject of a complaint and has been investigated by Head Office, but the report has been sitting on the President’s desk for almost 3 months with nothing yet being done.


Overall, the contents of the circular are alarming and very very worrying for FBU members.

It shows how out of touch with the real world Mr Robertson and his minions are. It also explains why FBU members’ concerns are being unheard, as their Scottish level representatives are now clearly believing their own propaganda!

No wonder Scottish FBU members are up in arms and demanding change!

Many members are leaving the Union and many more are also talking about doing so – all because of the Scottish leadership!

If they were doing such a good job and having such “major successes”, surely the opposite would be the case?!

It’s time for FBU Head Office and the Executive Council to finally do something about this untenable situation.

They can start by initiating the election process for the post of Scottish Regional Secretary and let the change begin, before it’s too late and there’s nothing left to fight for!


Filed under FBU Scotland, Uncategorized

Their State of Mind Explains the State of the Union

Over the past week, this Blog has been receiving obnoxious and offensive messages from Scottish FBU leaders, who have been levelling very person and quite disgraceful abuse at certain individuals. Similar messages have also been posted on other online forums.

All this whilst at the same time condemning anyone else who expresses views and opinions of the current state of affairs in the world of FBU Scotland.

They are obviously struggling to cope with ordinary FBU members’ right to voice an opinion on their elected officials’ standard of representation, or more accurately, the lack of representation.

They have reacted particularly badly to the simple fact that a few FBU members got together recently to discuss the possibility of identifying a candidate to stand against Mr OBE in the election for the post of Scottish Regional Secretary.

Individuals are entirely entitled to discuss what they like, in their own time, with whom they like. It’s a free country after all. Not so, according to the control freaks at the top of FBU Scotland, who are demanding to know who, what, where, when, etc. None of their business, we say.

Anyway, putting their foul language and vile attacks to one side, there were also some extremely enlightening comments made within their diatribe, which worryingly opens a window into the mind of the Scottish FBU leaders, and highlights just how out of touch they are with the wants, needs and demands of their members, and the real world.

We shall refer to the following three comments, which encapsulate their dismissive attitude and warped outlook.

  • If J Duffy wants to accept the award it’s his individual decision and nothing to do with anyone else, whether FBU member or not

Mr Duffy received his OBE for services in his capacity as the Scottish Regional Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union. Consequently, it is entirely appropriate for FBU members to demand an explanation from him as to why he was offered such an award and why he accepted it, in their name, from the very people who are attacking the pensions, pay and working conditions of firefighters and control operators, whom he is supposed to be representing!

It therefore has everything to do with FBU members.

Consequently, the criticism is wholly relevant and entirely valid.

  • So worried you’ll get paid monthly instead of fortnightly!?! Who gives a fuck! £2000/mth = £1000/fortnight….duh… ya muppet!”

This shows the contempt and disdain they have for FBU members’ genuine concerns and fundamental right to be consulted on a potentially significant change to they pay frequency, not to mention the fact that they think firefighters get paid £2,000 per month!

Whilst there are many FBU members who have been on monthly pay for some time, for the remainder to be put onto monthly pay, is still a big issue for many and they have the absolute right to have their views and concerns listened to and conveyed to management by the people who are supposed to be representing them!

  • Our officials thankfully have a good negotiating relationship with management and MSPs. They work bloody hard for FBU members throughout Scotland, trying to get the best possible working conditions… there are stringent budget restrictions on all public services & our officials try to ensure the impact on uniformed personnel is as minimal as possible

This comment is the worst of the lot. They have such a “good negotiating relationship with management and MSPs”, but what have they managed to “negotiate” thus far in order “to ensure the impact on uniformed personnel is as minimal as possible”?

  • They unilaterally “negotiated” with the Scottish Government and MSPs, to create a single Fire & Rescue Service in Scotland, without even consulting FBU members on the issue, which has been the catalyst for the programme of cuts that FBU members and Scottish communities are now suffering! Brilliant!
  • They unilaterally “negotiated” with the Scottish Government and MSPs, to avoid FBU members in Scotland taking strike action in defence of their pensions, by manipulating the outcome of a consultative ballot that has split the UK Union as never seen before! Brilliant!
  • They “negotiated” with management, “to ensure the impact on uniformed personnel is as minimal as possible”, by agreeing a new Duty System for flexi duty officers, against those officer members’ wishes, which has seen workloads increase and jobs lost! Brilliant!
  • They “negotiated” with management and the Scottish Government, “to ensure the impact on uniformed personnel is as minimal as possible”, by doing nothing to fight against the closure of five out of eight Fire Control Rooms in Scotland, with the loss of almost half of all control operator jobs, which will lead to an increase in call handling and response times, and leave communities in Scotland with a much worse Fire Service to call upon! Brilliant!
  • They are in the process of “negotiating” with management, “to ensure the impact on uniformed personnel is as minimal as possible”, by seeking an agreement to reduce crewing levels in the west of Scotland, which will see the loss of up to 200 front line firefighter posts, leading to firefighter safety and community safety being further compromised! Brilliant!
  • They are in the process of “negotiating” with management, “to ensure the impact on uniformed personnel is as minimal as possible”, by seeking an agreement to reduce firefighters’ ARA payments, without even consulting with those members who currently receive ARAs, and award other members the reduced level of payment, when they don’t even qualify to receive it! Brilliant!
  • They are in the process of “negotiating” with management, “to ensure the impact on uniformed personnel is as minimal as possible”, by seeking an agreement to change the pay frequency of a large number of members (to monthly pay), without even consulting with them on the issue (referred to above)! Brilliant!

Are these the “best possible working conditions” that the Scottish officials “work bloody hard” to achieve?!

Are these the great successes of the Partnership Working Agreement with management, employers and the Scottish Government that they refer to?!

Are these what FBU members in Scotland should be thankful to them for?!

Oh Dear! Oh Dear! Oh Dear!

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Filed under FBU Scotland, Uncategorized

The Subterfuge and Mendacity Continues…

As was reported previously, the Executive Council member for Scotland, Mr Roddy Robertson, decided to unilaterally submit a request to the Executive Council, seeking an extension to Mr OBE’s four year term of office, in the post of Scottish Regional Secretary, which the EC acceded to.

On his return to Scotland, officials demanded to know why Mr Robertson made such a request without raising the matter with the Scottish Regional committee in the first place.

His excuse was that he only thought of it on the train whilst on his way to attend the EC meeting in London. This contradicts his previous statement that he was unaware that the issue was being raised at the EC until he got there, then raised it on the spur of the moment.

So, how could he have thought of it on the train on his way there, when he was unaware it was being raised until he got there?

Of course, both of these scenarios are nonsense, as EC members receive all EC papers at least a week in advance of an EC meeting. So, he was fully aware that the programme for elections was going to be on the Agenda and that an election for the post of Scottish Regional Secretary was due to begin.

In fact, he didn’t even need EC papers to know this, as everyone in Scotland has been aware for months that this election is due.

To add to his deceit and mendacity, he then stated to the Scottish Regional committee that the extension was only until September, a mere three months.

However, this is not the case.

In order for the new term to begin in September, the election process would need to begin in May, 16 weeks prior to the due date.

As it transpires, the election process is not due to begin until September, meaning that Mr OBE’s term of office would be extended until January 2015, a full seven months!

  • A complete disregard for the Union’s Rules!
  • A complete disregard for FBU members’ democratic right to choose their representatives at the laid down times!
  • A complete disregard for the democracy of the Union!

And to make matters worse a complete contempt for FBU members, expressed by Mr Robertson and his minions, through lies and double talk!


It is our understanding that complaints have already been submitted to the General Secretary from Scottish FBU members. We await to see what the response to these complaints will be.

Should the General Secretary, and indeed the President, not overrule the decision of the Executive Council, and revert back to the expressed requirements of the Union’s Rule Book (which is a legal document), then a legal challenge is likely to follow.

One thing is for sure – this matter isn’t going away!

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Filed under FBU Elections, FBU Scotland

Scottish FBU leaders’ Response to FBU Members’ Criticisms and Concerns? – Go F*** Yourself!

Rather than spending their time fighting to safeguard the pensions, conditions of service and general best interests of their members, the Scottish FBU leaders prefer instead to utilise much of their time and energies with other pursuits.

What are these pursuits, we hear you ask?

Well, as we have reported previously, there is one in particular that they love to indulge in.

They like nothing more than to anonymously post onto online websites, discussion forums and blogs (such as this), spouting abuse and vile at anyone and everyone who dares criticise or challenge them.

Ironically they regularly lambast and condemn anyone else who undertakes to anonymously post online.

Well, we say “ironically”, but it is less ironic and more “blatant and unashamed hypocrisy”!

Of course, such trivial matters as hypocrisy and double standards have never stood in their way before, so there is no reason why it should now!

As an anonymous Blog ourselves, we take the view that any individuals or groups, anonymous or otherwise, are entitled to express a view, an opinion, report facts, or level valid criticisms, especially when important and vital information is not forthcoming from the formal mechanisms and structures. However, levelling abuse is something very different!

It has to be said that it is highly questionable that such senior Union officials, who carry huge responsibilities and engage with senior politicians and Fire Service managers and employers, are involved in such practices for the specific purpose of nothing other than directing abuse at individuals, especially when they themselves condemn it of others.

What is ironic is that it is the worst kept secret in the Union!

It appears that they are intent on continuing their “anonymous” vituperation, as they have recently created an email address for this very purpose.

The name of the email address in itself, says it all –

How apt, given their clear long-standing disdain towards their own members!

This Blog recently received a message from their new address. We decided not to publish the content of the message as we do not want to give them a platform to spew their vile abuse at individuals (which was the basic content of the message).

FBU members may wish to email them at their new address and inquire why such a ludicrous address was created by them and why the Scottish FBU leaders are not spending their time properly and robustly representing their members!

Pensions are under attack! Control Rooms have been lost! Many Control Operators are losing their jobs! Officer posts are being slashed! An Officer Duty System has been detrimentally changed, with others under review!

What are the illustrious Scottish FBU leaders doing about it?! NOTHING!

Cuts to Firefighter jobs are coming! Cuts to the number of Fire Stations and Fire Engines are coming!

What are the illustrious Scottish FBU leaders doing about it?! NOTHING!

They’re too busy trying to please their political masters and holding onto power through totally ignoring the Union’s own clear and unambiguous rules by denying FBU members the right to choose their representatives at the appropriate time in elections!

They are running scared and getting more and more desperate as each day passes!

Why not email them at their new email address and ask them why they have created such a ridiculous and juvenile email address in the first place?!

Ask them how this demonstrates professionalism and a productive use of their member funded time?!

Ask them why they are denying FBU members their democratic right to engage in a legitimate election process?!

Ask them what they are doing to protect their members’ best interests and why they are not coordinating a fight against the ongoing attacks by their pals in Holyrood and Perth?!

However, if you do, be prepared to be told to “Go F*** Yourself”!!


Filed under FBU Elections, FBU Scotland

Union Rules?! Who cares about Union Rules?!

Corruption and a bare-faced contempt for Union members was witnessed this week when the Executive Council made an extraordinary decision to completely disregard the Rules of the Union, at the behest of a certain pot smoking EC member from Scotland.

At its meeting this week, Mr Robertson managed to persuade a majority of EC members to remove the election for the post of Scottish Regional Secretary from the schedule of elections.

The election was due to begin in a few weeks, however the EC has postponed it to allow the current post holder, Mr John Duffy (the holder of the Government awarded OBE) to continue in the post beyond the laid down four year period, in order to “oversee the restructure of the Region”!

It’s an incredible decision, which is likely to be received with absolute fury from members in Scotland and beyond!

It should be said that there was division on the Executive Council on this issue, with many angry exchanges during the debate. The General Secretary was said to be totally opposed to postponing the election, with concerns being raised over the legality of the Executive Council ignoring the Union’s Rules.

This move highlights the obvious concerns of Messers Robertson, OBE and their minions, that Mr OBE is likely to lose the election. In fact, it’s almost a foregone conclusion. So rather than face the membership through the scheduled election process, they have once again run away by managing to persuade the Executive Council to blatantly disregard it!

Utterly shameful and completely outrageous!

Interestingly, Mr Robertson never asked the Scottish Regional committee about this before raising it with the Executive Council. He kept it from them. This little plan was concocted by him and the Regional officials, behind the backs of the Regional committee and the Scottish members!

However, this is unlikely to be the end of the matter. Scottish members have already had enough of this lot and will almost certainly not take this lying down.

Stay tuned for more on this developing story!


Filed under FBU Elections, FBU Scotland, Uncategorized

Fire Control Rooms Closed “In Partnership”!

The decision by the SFRS Boardtoday to close five Fire Control Rooms, leaving only three in Johnstone, Edinburgh & Dundee, is disgraceful.

However, even more disgraceful has been complete capitulation, from the very start, of the FBU Scotland leaders in this whole sorry affair.

In 2007, the Union made lucid, robust and ultimately successful arguments to save all eight Control Rooms in Scotland. From the day and hour that the Mott McDonald report was published, which recommended the reduction of the number of Control Rooms to either three or one, the Union went on the offensive and ultimately won the day.

Five years later, the same cannot be said for the current crop of officials.

When SFRS management announced their intentions to close Control Rooms, instead of condemning the proposals and promising to fight against them, the Scottish leaders’ first reaction was to simply state that they would negotiate severance and redundancy packages (as contained with Mr OBE’s email, previously reported on this Blog)!

Absolutely disgraceful!!

Even today, when the SFRS Board’s decision was reported on RADIO and on television (BBC Scotland and STV news), the FBU Scottish leaders were posted missing!

Instead, a local FBU official from the Aberdeen area was left to pick up the mantel and condemn the Board’s decision.

Yet another act of cowardice on the part of the Scottish officials!

Significantly, what we have seen todayis “Partnership Working” in action!

A partnership which sees SFRS management, employers and the Scottish Government riding a coach and horses through the service, ripping up long-standing agreements, removing vital resources and diluting firefighters’ conditions of service, whilst the other partner (the FBU Scottish officials) stand back and do nothing!

It appears that the terms of this partnership is that SFRS management, employers and the Scottish Government do what they want, and the Scottish FBU leaders don’t complain, challenge or rock the boat in any way!!

At least, that’s what’s been happening so far!

This explains why they have been complicit in so many issues recently, including the selling out of officers by agreeing to a new duty system against the officers’ express wishes!

If today has highlighted anything, it’s that the Scottish FBU leaders must be instructed to withdraw from the partnership working agreement!

There are two significant events taking place in the very near future, which could see a new approach to industrial relations, away from the ineffective, subservient, self serving nature of the current incumbents.

The impending restructure of the Scottish Regional committee should see an end to the Scottish Leaders’ stranglehold on the committee.

In addition, the imminent election for the post of Scottish Regional Secretary will almost certainly see Mr OBE challenged and very likely removed from the position, and not too soon!

These two significant events will be the trigger for a much needed fight back, where firefighters and control room operators’ interests come first, not the personal ambitions of those representing them!

Change is needed more now than ever, before any more damage is done!


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

The Actions of the Desperate!

It looks like the FBU Executive Council member for Scotland, Roddy Robertson, really has pressed the panic button over the ever increasing number of Motions of No Confidence (MONC) being submitted by Branches against him and his willing cohorts.

After his uninspired performance at the Strathclyde mass meeting, where he sneered and snapped at members and blamed everyone else for his own failings, he has now mobilised a few of his merry followers into Strathclyde branches, in an attempt to bypass and undermine the Strathclyde Brigade officials, ahead of the Scottish Regional committee meeting on 17th December, when the motions from Strathclyde branches will be considered by the committee.

In fact, he even turned up (unannounced) at Renfrew fire station and tried to persuade the on duty watch to withdraw their MONC. It didn’t work!

Incredibly, he and his clique are now trying to encourage branches to submit MONC against the General Secretary instead!

Desperate indeed, as well as pathetic!

Interestingly, two of his minions have recently been turning up at Strathclyde branch AGMs (uninvited) –  Messers Chaudhry and McLeod! 

Yes, that’s right, the two officials from Dumfries & Galloway who are peddling the SFRSs Cuts Agenda (see previous post).

You would think that they would acknowledge the fact (even if they don’t agree with it) that many members, through their branches, have registered serious misgivings regarding the representation they are gettng from the Scottish officials, to the point that they now want rid of them.

You would think so, but they are not.

Instead, Mr McLeod has been quoted as referring to such members as “the enemy within“! Disgraceful!

They are also trying to persuade members to support Independence in the forthcoming Referendum, despite there being a clear and unambiguous FBU Conference policy which states that the Union will remain neutral on that issue!

Of course, as FBU members in Scotland know too well, they won’t let such matters as Union policies & rules get in the way of their own personal & political agendas!

Despite being repeatedly told that they have no place attending Strathclyde branch meetings, they are carrying on regardless.

You would think that travelling from Dumfries to branches throughout Strathclyde most days would be exhausting, wouldn’t you?

Well, not so, as the Scottish leaders have put them up in a nice comfy hotel in Glasgow, paid for of course, by Scottish FBU members’ money!

So, how can this be justified? Well, put simply, it can’t!

They and the Scottish leaders are trying to say that as “West Hub” officials, they are entitled to attend “West Hub” branches.

However, there are a couple of fundamental problems with this argument.

Firstly, whilst SFRS has restructured into Hubs, there has not yet been any such restructure within the FBU in Scotland.

Consequently, the existing structures, based on 8 Brigade committees that represent members from branches in those 8 respective Brigade areas, still applies.

Therefore, Brigade officials from one Brigade have no place attending branch meetings in another Brigade, unless they are specifically invited to do so, which in the case of Messers Chaudhry & McLeod, they haven’t!

Secondly, who decided who these “Hub” officials were? No elections for any such posts have ever taken place.

This is for the simple reason that there has been no internal Union restructure to initiate any such elections!

Significantly, there has been no amendments made to the Union’s Rule Book, in order to recognise any new structure or accomodate any subsequent required election processes.

Therefore, there is currently no such position as a “Hub official” in Scotland, or anywhere else. They’ve made it up!

Of course, this isn’t deterring them and they are carrying on regardless.

Ironically, some Branches have rejected them from their meeting. Of those that didn’t, the members there were decidedly unimpressed by them.

So, even though it is almost certain that the Motions of No Confidence will not be carried at the forthcoming meeting of the Scottish Regional committee, due to the support that the Scottish leaders will get from their small cabal of supporters on the committee (see previous post on this issue), the fact that they have been submitted in the first place is significant and is having a clear impact.

Using their own votes and those of their flunkies to dismiss Motions of No Confidence against them doesn’t change the fact that many many members are extremely unhappy with the representation (or lack of) that they have been subjected to from these Scottish officials.

When you take a step back for a moment and consider their recent record, it makes for horrendous reading. It then becomes easy to understand the anger that is being felt by so many members:

Their support for a Single Service, which is already seeing a swathe of cuts, with more to come – WITHOUT proper consultation with their members!

Control Room closures – WITHOUT consultation with their members and WITHOUT a fight!

Control Room Operator jobs lost - WITHOUT consultation with their members and WITHOUT a fight!

Agreeing a new detrimental Flexi Duty Officer Duty System – AGAINST the express wishes of Officer members!

Officer jobs lost - WITHOUT a fight!

Hundreds of Frontline Firefighter posts to go – WITHOUT a fight and WITH their support of management (again)!

The abysmal handling of the Pension dispute in Scotland – BLAMING everyone else, including members, for their failings, actions & inactions! LACK of information! COSYING UP to the Scottish Government, the Fire Board & SFRS management!

And they wonder why their members are unhappy?!!


Filed under FBU Scotland, Pensions, Political Matters