The FBU has always promoted Union education as a significant strategic resource within our armoury. It is sometimes said that “Knowledge is Power” and, probably more importantly, the slogan “Educate, Agitate, Organise” proclaims a very powerful sentiment. The Union’s current education policy endorses this, recognising that the Union is now working in the biggest period of change in the Fire Service since the years immediately following the Second World War.
Furthermore it is a fact that the ‘modernisation’ agenda has affected all aspects of the work of the Fire Brigades Union resulting in various strands of work and discussion as the Union develops strategies for the way forward.
The education strategy focuses on the new challenges facing local Officials, challenges very different from those being faced a decade ago. New issues now confront Officials, along with changes and developments affecting the structures in which they operate. These issues include for example: negotiations on shift and duty systems; second contracts; new pensions arrangements; NJC “Grey Book” procedures, including the Protocol on Industrial Relations; and new equality and other workplace legislation.
FBU Officials are at the front line of defending our members’ terms and conditions of employment, handling problems and issues in the workplace.
They are also a key to strengthening and building the Union’s organisation for the issues and struggles facing us now and in the years to come. All our Officials need an effective and relevant programme of trade union education to help support them in that vital work.
It is my view that the Union education opportunities available to all Officials both in the National and Regional programmes are essential to our work and I would encourage you to take full advantage of them.
Fire Brigades Union