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arrson - firemen are c***s

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Very, very tempted to edit this masterpiece to remove much of the verbosity and break the last from CDS/PUS on talking to the press by sending it to our friends at the Daily Jackboot.


Your front page juxtaposition of a photograph of firefighters upon reports of the virtual inevitability of war (9th September) struck me as somewhat ironic.

I serve in one of those Armoured Brigades in Germany that may be pledged as part of Britain’s military support to ‘regime change’ in Iraq.  Concurrently we are preparing to take over from the firemen across Great Britain with five days training should they decide to strike.  Whilst most of our equipment is nearly as old and unreliable as the Green Goddesses, putting out fires from them does not strike me as the best preparation for high intensity warfighting.

The basic wage for a fireman is currently more than for a trained private soldier.  That fireman will do two days, two nights and four days off.  He will be based in one location and settle into a routine.  The life of a soldier is somewhat different.  A soldier is compensated by always being paid fifteen per cent more than an equivalent civil servant – the x factor – to make up for the disturbance and by the provision of subsidised housing.  Whilst ignorant of the exact requirements of firefighting I suggest that there are roles within the services that require a higher skill level but do not necessarily see the monetary reward.

So the Army is going to stand in for the firefighters with inferior pay, equipment and training.  Meanwhile we will slowly be suffering skill fade rather than maintaining ourselves at a high readiness.  Excellent.  I have a solution: pay the firefighters more money.  Give them a fifteen per cent rise, five days training, and then send them on six-month tours to the less rational parts of the globe and place them in the kernel of a combined arms battle with a little nerve agent thrown in.  Or would they rather go for the four per cent rise?

Yours aye,

Tommy Atkins


I loved the sentiments expressed in the letter and could add a few more from my six month stay at Her Majesty's pleasure in Kosovo.

The next time a member of London Fire Brigade gets drunk, ban all of them from alcohol for a month.

Allow them access to tax free goods and catalogues but only 150 Euros a month without a note from mother saying they can have more.

Make sure that they spend the next six months breathing obnoxious fumes from a soviet style power plant while choking on the dust from a crap road system.

Make sure they only receive mail on a random basis and too late to attend the court following a summons by magistrates.

Rant, Rant 20% rise please


Now, if I was an unpopular Middle Eastern dictator with a bushy mustache, I'd be encouraging the firemen to hold out for 150% + fresh cream cakes + 50 weeks holiday a year...etc etc.....

As the-officer quite rightly points out, our brave boys are going to have a tricky time rampaging through the desert dressed as Fireman Sam.
On the bus, off the bus.
Mr Blair, will you fiddle with Iraq while home is burning? I suspect not.

Wonder if the fireman's union has had any large "rial" donations recently......?


No problems, Fireman Sam, we'll man your fire engines for you.  Now, if you'll just grab this SA80 and the flight to Iraq leaves in 15 minutes...

Seriously though, you have to wonder why a fireman who sees his job as so deserving of public support feels he is morally justified in putting lives in danger by getting us (untrained and non subject matter experts) to do his job for him.


Superb comment! I totally agree with you The_Officer!!!

Lets hope the Firemen see sense - there is absolutely no way they are going to get a 40% rise - Gordon Brown's current spending plans have already been thrown into disarray as a result of his over enthusiastic economic growth forecasts!!


To be fair to the firemen, I do not think that they want the Army to break thier strike.

It is the Government that is willing to put the forces in the position of scab and strike breaker.  As I have said in another thread, what will Mr. Blair say to the parents of a soldier killed  while trying to put out a fire with 50 year old equipment, limited training and inadequate leadership (Firefighting is not part of the curriculum in any of our Officer or NCO courses).  

Ambulance chasing Lawyers will be lining up at bedside and graveside and for once negligence will be provable.


One of the striking images yesterday was the line of firefighters outside their station in remembrance of their fallen NY comrades.  It was on my local TV and most arrse readers will have seen something similar.  Chief fire officers were going on about professionalism, sanctity of life and the dedication to the job the firefighters showed and how their is a bond between firefighters world wide.  So......

why are they going on strike?
didn't they know the money was crap?
why don't they just quit?-there are plenty of ex squadies who want to be firefighters

God willing no soldiers will die doing the firefighters' job for them, but if they do I hope the professional, dedicated but not very well paid union members can sleep well.
Got to say I think 30K a year is not an unreasonable demand, considering what they do.....  Hope they get what they deserve.

Now back to us lot, well....come the Revolution we'll start the pay scales at say, 15K a year instead of the peanuts we get paid.  And why not? - the money's there....

Should do wonders for recruitment/retention....


Book Reviewer
Eagle -

"Should do wonders for recruitment/retention.... "

Well, it would for us, but one the Govt's main planks for resisting the 40% demand from Firefighters is that there isn't a Rectg & reten problem there at all - people are queueing up to join, even at the rubbish pay rates (less moonlighting money).

So, are the Government socialist (to each according to their needs - or what we think that they 'deserve' for doing a dangerous job) or capitalist (Pay the minimum you can get away with).  

One hint about the Blair Crew - they sure ain't socialists!
If you think its not fair that you get paid less in the army than the firefighters...then leave the army and get a better paid job.  


War Hero

You really are missing the point!  No one is really complaining about the pay and conditions, all that is happening here is that the Armed Forces Pay Review Body sets our pay relative to the conditions of other public sector employees, including firemen.

If they are complaining about their pay grades, then they should look around at the real value derived by their employment in terms of cost-v-benefit to themselves.  We do (even if we shimf about it).

What is resented is the fact that our boys will have to stand in for them when they refuse to do their job.  In WW1 we shot people for less...


War Hero
Would you put your life at risk every day for £21.500 a year after 14 years in?, I bloody wouldn't and don't blame the fireservice, blame Labour for another mess of broken promise's.........By the way have you noticed all the bad news getting hidden in the war talk, beware of your pensions next boys and girls, slimey tone will have that next.....and you can't strike!


War Hero
I obviously sympathise with any fireman under the current payscale system.  It is pretty poor that they do not have any real career structure that elevates their pay substantially over subsequent years, but a soldier's doesn't either, unless you prove increased competence and accept a greater degree of management responsibility.

The bottom line here is that they are paid a set wage for a set job.  The problem is that the annual increments have been poor over the past few years and should be higher.

Funny how the strike is planned to occur over the Half-Term break!
If the Armed Forces pay is based upon competing salaries, including that of a Firefighter, then you guys surely should be supporting the strike?!  


As a serving firefighter I feel I have to interject and tell you a few facts from our side.

Firstly, we do not regard Green Goddess personnel as scabs, scum or anything other than people doing their job.

I'm also amazed at the amount of anger at us wanting more money. What's wrong with trying to improve our living standards? We don't want to go on strike, most of us have a lot of pride in the job we do and don't take what we are about to do lightly, but if we want to improve our lot it is our only available option. All we want is to provide better for our familys....surely not a terrible crime! You must realise the govmt, employers,etc love you slagging us. It keeps us from realising that they are the real piss-takers!

We are asking for 40%, but you must realise this is just a tactic so we get a decent rise. Ask for 15% and they will offer 2%, ask for 40% and maybe we might get something decent.
4 days on, 4 days off...dont think so! When I come off a night shift I've just done 9 hours and that first day is spent sleeping or relaxing. Yes we have beds, but when you're up at 3 in the morning at a chemical spill, house fire or cutting someone out of a car you don't get the benefit of them!
I think that all public services should be paid loads more, it's disgusting that we get all the praise but sh*t pay. You can't keep the politicians out of the papers when we are at a Clapham or Kings Cross telling us how great we are, but ask them if they think we are worth more money and they go strangely silent.
By the way since our last pay formula was agreed,25 years ago, if our wage rises per year had been the same as an M.P. we would now be on £34,500.

Nice work if you can get it!


War Hero
Well said Firemansam!!

It's nice to be put in the picture with a little clarity.  We do sympathise with you, but as you can tell with some of the a/m opinions, there is little we can do about the Government ourselves, as we don't have a union.

We do have guns though...


War Hero
And the original thread was pretty well meant, If poorly titled.  How about this one?

I'd rather stand in for a fireman than a Politician
Firemansam, thank you for your input. The intensity of the anger is probably as much borne out of frustration and helplessness as anything.

The only protest a soldier has is to withdraw his/her labour permenantly (the ultimate strike I guess) and conditions have got pretty dire in recent years - hence the massive shortfall in manning.

I personally wish you the best of luck in your campaign - even if it will eventually come out of my taxes! >sigh< I'll definitely have to cut down on my G&Ts....


To all you lads going on fire fighting duties I wish you all well.
I`ve been doing it for 30yrs and I must say I still think it`s great . Only problem is pay is shite and management (officers) are ******* .

Just be careful , don`t rush , think , and try to enjoy it .
I`m sure quite a few of you will want to join when you go back to civvy street . Mind you you`ll probably have to grow tits to get in ,but that`s another story . Good luck and best wishes .
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