BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: UK: Scotland  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 28 January, 2003, 17:58 GMT
'Hard-line' tactics blamed for strike
Demonstrating firefighters
Firefighters are staging their fourth strike
The UK Government's "hard-line tactics" have given Scottish firefighters no choice but to continue striking, according to a union leader.

The comment was made as the fourth round of UK-wide industrial action got under way at 0900 GMT on Tuesday.

A further two-day stoppage is planned for the weekend over the firefighters' long-running 40% pay claim.

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) Scottish executive member John McDonald said the government was using "hard-line tactics".

FIREFIGHTERS STRIKE
John McDonald
We are absolutely disgusted with the government

John McDonald
FBU
"If we don't have this strike action the government will get away with what it is doing, running the fire service down," said Mr McDonald.

"But there has to be a mixture of legal and political action as well as industrial action, which is why the union is taking out an injunction against employers in England."

He added: "We are absolutely disgusted with the government.

"While we have been trying to negotiate a resolution, the government has been legislating and ordering the employers to implement cutbacks."

He claimed many senior fire officers were equally opposed to the controversial Bain report but were "too scared to speak out".

The local government organisation Cosla, which is currently responsible for firefighters in Scotland, said the service was a local issue and should remain under local government control.

And socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan accused the UK government of a Mussolini-style attempt to break the strike.

Thousands of trade unionists are expected to rally in Glasgow on Saturday in support of the firefighters and emergency control staff.

Other public worker unions have been lending their backing to the fire union leaders.

'Job cuts'

The weekend's mass rally is expected to be addressed by FBU general secretary Andy Gilchrist.

Meanwhile, the sides in the dispute appear to be further apart than ever.

Scotland has so far avoided a major incident during previous strike action in the dispute.

Two people died in fire-related incidents during industrial action last week.

Local authority employers are still pushing a review of the service by Sir George Bain as the basis of any settlement.

The FBU believes accepting the employers' proposals will cost 4,500 jobs and shut 150 fire stations.


Key stories

Features and analysis

How they compare

In pictures

CLICKABLE GUIDE

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Scotland stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes