Ron Dobson is today under pressure to step down from his position after a judge ruled that the London Fire Brigade commissioner had acted unlawfully when he docked crew managers pay during a period of industrial action, potentially leaving the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority with a six figure legal bill.
During a dispute over shift patterns in 2010, firefighters as a form of industrial action, relinquished the â€œstarâ€ attribute â€“ meaning in order to cover staff shortfalls firefighters could be required to act-up to the role of watch manager â€“ a move that Dobson wrongly claimed they had no right to do.
Dobson docked the wages of around 370 firefighters, some losing up to 40% of their income, for not â€œacting upâ€ – work they were not contractually obliged to do.
Gordon Fielden, regional chair for the FBU in London, said: â€œWe are delighted by the result but not at all surprised. We always believed the commissionerâ€™s actions were as unlawful as they were despicable. He treated 368 loyal members of staff like dirt in an effort to break industrial action. He should now seriously consider his position.
â€œThere can be no defense for the commissionerâ€™s actions. He sullied his own reputation and that of the brigade by cynically and opportunistically plundering the wage packets of hard working and loyal staff whose only crime was to take perfectly lawful industrial action.
â€œI applaud our crew manager members who stood firm throughout the ordeal.â€
After learning of the verdict Luke Rowson, a crew manager at Feltham fire station, said: â€œIâ€™m extremely pleased at the outcome. Iâ€™m not a militant person but I refused to be bullied. The brigade docked my pay unfairly.
â€œComing just before Christmas the deductions hit us particularly hard. Iâ€™m grateful to the FBU and their solicitors Thompsons for all their hard work. This result shows the benefit of being in a union.â€
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