The Fire Brigades Union’s pandemic response has been a disgrace

From the vaccination programme to the NHS intensive care units, much of the British state has risen magnificently to the Covid challenge. But there is one element of the public realm that has lived down to the lowest expectations of its performance. The Fire Brigades Union, long a byword for militant intransigence in defence of outdated practices, has been at its self-serving, uncooperative worst during the crisis. In place of solidarity and dedication, it has displayed an ‘I’m all right Jack’ mentality as it discourages its members from undertaking humanitarian duties. The FBU embodies British trade unionism at its most obstructive. It hides behind safety concerns, clings to rigid job

Coronavirus has forced militant firefighters to help the NHS

Even in the darkness of the pandemic, there is the occasional shaft of light. In its sweeping impact on our civic infrastructure, the coronavirus has achieved something that no recent governments have managed. It has forced a radical change in our outdated, under-occupied fire service by vastly enhancing the duties of firefighters. No longer will brigades just narrowly focused on attending fires. Instead, they will become a proper emergency service, complete with medical responsibilities. Under an agreement reached last week between employers, fire chiefs and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), firefighters will embrace additional duties during this unprecedented emergency. These will include the delivery of essential items like food and