Tory-controlled Swindon Council last night (22 Jan) called on the government to resume talks with the FBU to work out a settlement to our dispute that will offer fair, equitable and sustained pensions appropriate to the firefighters’ occupation.
Councillors were lobbied on their way into the meeting by members of the Swindon Peoples’ Assembly, an active local community group who have supported our cause throughout the dispute. Union officials were also in attendance.
A member of the council’s majority Tory group (who also happens to be a member of the Fire Authority) proposed an amendment parroting the official Westminster line about ‘gold-plated pension arrangements’. Although only one of his colleagues offered any word of support, they all raised their hands to back the official central government propaganda. But the welcome news is that after the amendment, even the Tories backed the call for talks to end the dispute.
Brent Thorley, the FBU Wiltshire brigade secretary, said, “The union is grateful to Councillor Jim Grant and the Labour Group for proposing the motion and backing the demand for talks.” But he says the union is mystified how Conservative councillors can argue that our pensions are top class while also voting to resume talks to ensure they are fair and equitable! How can they be top class if they are not fair?
The Tory Group in Swindon moves in mysterious ways – but it is great news to have a call for resumed negotiations from Swindon’s Tory-controlled council.
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