Steve Eason reports from the strike rally organised by the FBU earlier this week.
It was clear from local reports most striking firefighters were making their way to the National rally in London. My train carriage was full of uniformed firefighters on their way to Westminster. Outside the hall groups of strikers from all over the south assembled with their banners. There was a really cheerful atmosphere. One group lit a fire (think it represented burning management’s promises) I looked around to see if the police were going to stop them, but It burned away merrily.
Some 2,000 firefighters got into the rally with another 200 or so standing outside due to health and safety concerns about overcrowding. Lots of cheering and a very positive atmosphere in the hall. The response to the Labour party speakers was good but Clara Paillard, a striking Worker from the National Gallery got a standing ovation.
Matt Wrack and other FBU leaders led the firefighters on a march to Parliament. some went in to lobby the MP’s while thousands gathered outside, some having a sit down protest next to the main entrance to parliament, holding up traffic for the rest of the day. (again the cops didn’t try to intervene). The slogan on the inflatable was “We save lives not banks”.