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On Monday 18 February, Channel 4 Dispatches will air a programme titled Grenfell: Did the Fire Brigade Fail?

The FBU has not yet seen the programme, but understands that it will be highly critical of the London Fire Brigade's response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

Ahead of the programme's broadcast, Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said:

“Firefighters risked their lives that night to save others, and were placed in an utterly impossible situation because of the failure of the building. Before any firefighter arrived, before any 999 calls were made, the building was a potential death trap. The building was wrapped in flammable cladding which caused the fire to spread at an unprecedented and rapid rate.

“We have longstanding criticisms of fire and rescue policy in the UK, and have in the past made many criticisms of individual fire and rescue services, including the London Fire Brigade. The FBU has made urgent recommendations for a review of the stay put policy, but we are clear that this is a national matter which government should initiate. The government has been too slow to respond, both in terms of unsafe building materials and reviewing national fire and rescue policy.”

Security staff are to ballot for industrial action that could see parliamentary business face disruption, the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) has said.

Members of the union are angry at changes to break times, increased workloads and management's refusal to reinstate a member of staff.

The union also wants the employer to settle two cases involving PCS reps and to end the "culture of fear" that has been created by "overzealous" management.

If members vote in favour, it could see industrial action - including the option of going on strike - as early as March 20th.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "The Palace of Westminster needs to pay serious attention to the demands of a key part of the parliamentary workforce.

"Hardworking staff are only asking for what is fair and just. They are not prepared to put up with a culture of fear.

"We urge management to meet with our representatives as a matter of urgency and settle this dispute."

Maritime union RMT will be taking the demands for a fair deal for British workers on Government Brexit ferry contracts direct to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling on Friday morning.

RMT will be holding a protest outside the DfT at 10am on Friday 11th January (Department for Transport, Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 4DR) setting out the following three core demands on the Government contracts:

1.     All ferries to be fully crewed up with UK ratings‎

2.     Recognition of UK trade unions

3.     UK employment laws to be fully complied with

The RMT protest comes after a slew of publicity around the Seaborne Freight contract awarded at public expense by Chris Grayling and the ongoing dredging of Ramsgate Harbour.

RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash said:

“There has been a barrage of publicity around the Government’s Brexit ferry contracts, and the union has written to both Chris Grayling, who is in control of the arrangements, and the companies involved demanding basic assurances on UK ratings jobs, union recognition and full compliance with UK employment laws.

“RMT has no intention of allowing any backsliding or any stitch-ups of UK seafarers, and that is why we are making our position public with the protest at the Department for Transport on Friday morning. We will not allow the scandal of the Ships of Shame in British waters, where poverty pay below the minimum wage and shocking working conditions are endemic, to roll over to these contracts.

“Under RMT’s SOS2020 campaign banner, we have been fighting for a fair deal and increased employment opportunities across the UK maritime sector. We will taking that message direct to Chris Grayling in the wake of his Brexit contracts on Friday. We expect him, and the companies he has contracted, to meet our demands in full as a matter of urgency.”

THE FIREFIGHTERS' DILEMMA

TUCG: MARK SERWOTKA ON THE FIGHT AGAINST AUSTERITY

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BOOK: COST OF LIVING CRISIS

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