Fire-fighters: “We Rescue People, Not Banks!”

FBUMembers of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) staged a protest in Portsmouth earlier today over renewed threats from the government to cut staff and services.

Around thirty fire-fighters from across the city were joined by local trade unionists, socialists and numerous passers-by to say that the Coalition’s austerity programme was putting lives at risk.

The FBU put on a real show, occupying Guildhall Square with a fire engine, stalls, gazebos and a sound system. Above them floated a huge balloon proclaiming: “We Rescue People Not Banks!”

As people queued to sign the FBU petition (and collect a free t-shirt in the process) the crowd was addressed by union president Alan McLean. He said:

“We know what austerity means. The next generation of this country has very little to look forward to – unless we fight back. Unless we make sure that these cuts don’t happen.”

“I’m looking around at the t-shirts that say “We rescue people not banks” – a brilliant sentiment. Look at what happened in Spain. The fire service in Spain was being called upon to remove people from their houses, to help the police in the name of austerity, in the name of balancing the books. Our firefighters in Spain said we will not do this”.

“And we don’t do it in this country either. Why? Because you’re not David Cameron’s public. You’re not George Osborne’s public. You’re our public. We live here. We are you.”

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