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EDITIONS
Friday, 22 November, 2002, 11:34 GMT
Do firefighters still enjoy public support?
As firefighters begin their eight-day strike, BBC News Online sought opinion from the streets of Britain to gauge public support.
Prue Greentree, 26, from Barons Court, south-west London, said: "I do support them again, but it's very hard when they hold the city to ransom, almost.

"I think the government should pay them what they want because they do a really good job - they're very busy in such a big city.

Prue Greentree
Prue Greentree: "holding the city to ransom"
"As for other public sector workers, this is an individual area and you have to look at each industry."

Simon McDonnell, a 29-year-old Leeds student, said: "I don't think they should strike for a pay rise that large.

"I think industrial relations have been too slack for the last five years.

"They should be trying to bargain more often, and on a consistent basis."

Wale Sanni
Wale Sanni: "dialogue important"
Wale Sanni, 35, a nurse from east London, said: "It's putting people at risk. When there's no fire brigade on duty, people could die.

"I want the government to negotiate with the union and come up with a concrete conclusion so they can go back to work and be happy.

"Striking is not the way to do it - dialogue is very important."

Jo Hibbert, 36, a software trainer from Maidenhead, Berkshire, said: "It's very worrying. It's really difficult because I appreciate they have to do something, but striking is a very dangerous action to take, and 40% is a lot.

Jo Hibbert
Jo Hibbert: "striking very dangerous"
"I don't support this strike - the first one wasn't that long, but this time round, there are other things going on in the world, which makes it more worrying."

Cheryl Smith, 42, an office worker in Leeds, said: "I don't support the strike because the economy would suffer if they were given 40%.

"It would only encourage more public service workers to go out on strike and where would it all end?"


My cousin Lenny was a fireman and his hair went prematurely white because of what he actually saw

Iris Ashfield
Beatrice Verrall, a pensioner from Kensington, west London, said: "I do support them and agree they should have 25,000 now, not wait until next year.

"They do one of the most awful jobs, with car crashes and Tube fires, like King's Cross.

"Some have worked there for 20 years and others have to travel from Margate because of the cost of living here."

David Tilbury
David Tilbury: "they have no choice"
David Tilbury, 57, who works for Thames Water and lives in Holland Park, west London, said: "I support them and think they should certainly get more than 4%, which has been offered, but not 40%.

"They don't have any choice. It is worrying, but you have to live with it."

Adam Freibach, 21, a Leeds joiner, said: "I agree with the strike but I think the pay increase they want is too much. I think 16% is enough."

Linda Hargreaves, 44, from Cotgrave in Nottingham, said: "I agree with what they are trying to get but I think they are going for too much money.

Linda Hargreaves
Linda Hargreaves: "too much money"
"But I agree that they do a good job and it is more hazardous than other jobs."

Iris Ashfield, retired, from west London, said: "I think they're right to strike, with what they have to put up with, and in principle, I would be prepared to pay for it.

"My cousin Lenny was a fireman and his hair went prematurely white because of what he actually saw."

Pamela Challoner, 59, a cleaner from Sneinton in Nottingham, said: "If it is the only way they are going to get what they want they should do it, even though it endangers people's lives."

Pamela Challoner
Pamela Challoner: "They should do it"
Jeweller Adrian Richardson, 45, from Nottingham, said: "I think it is outrageous, personally.

"I did a bit of time with the army and it is the same when you sign up to be a firefighter - there is a sense of duty.

"If they have got a problem with that they should get a job as a shopkeeper - I don't think anybody should withdraw their labour like that."


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 VOTE RESULTS
Are the firefighters right to strike?

Yes
 35.37% 

No
 64.61% 

5683 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

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