Support Steve Godward!
By Vicki Morris
Firefighter Steve Godward was sacked in early February from the West Midlands Fire Service on trumped up charges relating to the FBU pay dispute.
He has faced the additional pressure of a threat from WMFS management to put his young son Connor out of the West Midlands Fire Service nursery he attends.
On Monday 17 February Steve and his supporters lobbied a public meeting of the Fire Authority asking that Connor be allowed to stay at the nursery: there is no waiting list for the nursery-Connor is not taking anyone else's place-and everyone involved in Connor's care believes it best for him that he stay.
Steve said: "We extracted from the Labour group of councillors on the Fire Authority a recommendation to the management of West Midlands Fire Service that Connor be allowed to stay in the nursery until we know the results of my appeal against my sacking."
Steve's appeal is to John "We Once Called Him Brother" Prescott, in his capacity as Secretary of State for the Fire Service. How long will it be before the outcome of the appeal is known? Steve says: "It's good news for Connor's education, but I met someone today who has been waiting to find out the result of his appeal for two years!"
So, what can be done to get victimised firefighters their jobs back, since we cannot see JP being in too much of a hurry?
On Monday night, West Midlands firefighters joined activists from London and Manchester to discuss a national rank and file campaign to make the question of victimisations an important plank-the "fifth element"-in the FBU's talks with the employers and the Government. In short, to get the FBU leaders to say: reinstate our colleagues or we do not have a deal!
The demand is already being taken up by activists in West Midlands, London, Greater Manchester and Essex Regions of the FBU, and Steve and his supporters are drawing up a model resolution for use in other brigades and regions.
They know that strike action specifically on the question of reinstatement might be needed, and have embarked on building awareness of that. It becomes easier as all the facts of cases like Steve's get known more widely throughout the FBU. While for a time, to aid his case, the details of Steve's case were not made public, now they can be: Steve has nothing to hide!
For more information about the reinstatement campaign, contact Steve on 07958 215584.
Visitors to the www.30kfirepay2.co.uk website can send a U2U message, fittingly, to "like a rhino".