Firefighters should thank their lucky stars and drop the martyrdom

Firefighters Picketing outside March fire station. Firefighters strike meeting. Picture: Steve Willi

Firefighters Picketing outside March fire station. Firefighters strike meeting. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Our society could not survive without the fire and rescue service. They do a very good job. Due to their unique and essential place in society successive governments have had to give in to their demands. But just because they are essential they do not have the right to hold us to ransom by withholding their services.

The job is so easy that huge numbers of people apply for each full time job vacancy. It is so easy many full-time firefighters hold down two jobs or run a business from home.

It is not particularly dangerous given the teamwork system and health and safety rules. Many trades people are killed or injured in their work every year. One death is one too many but this figure can never be brought to zero.

The dangers they volunteer for should not give them any extra rights to taxpayer cash. A ‘market rate’ for this job would pay considerably less.

We’ve all suffered reduced benefits for, in my view, obvious reasons. Suggesting the firefighters are being asked to pay off the national debt is infantile but due to the power they hold over us no-one apart from their direct paymasters seem to be challenging this.

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I suggest they take a cold, hard look at themselves and thank their lucky stars. Drop the martyrdom rhetoric and join the rest of society in our minor hardships. Admit they are lucky to live in one of the richest countries in the world and one that can (just about) afford a gold plated fire and rescue service. They like to tell us how proud they are to be public servants and serve the local community so now’s their chance to prove it - admit they are ordinary people with ordinary problems, they are not extraordinary.

Charles Hunt

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