Watch and wait on this one. A letter was sent to the ODPM about it before it got this far. Don't expect to get stretched too far this time! Bailing out the firemen with what is essentially a full firefighting service is going to become part of our history, and the public will realise that we are not the 4th emergency service - if it goes pearshaped, then the blame will fall fair and square on the doorstep of the FBU. They wouldn't want yobs and thugs putting fires out for them anyway (but we could always hope that a certain Times journo leaves his chip pan on too long!)
Pompeysailor is right. MoD sent a letter to ODPM telling Prescott in effect that they weren't going to bail him out on anything like the scale of Fresco. Now consider this if you will:
Scenario 1: Prescott plays hard-ball with one of the last unreconstructed unions in the UK. He runs a risk of a strike with hardly any cover (and therefore possible fatalities), but says there's an even greater risk in overstretching the armed forces. We run with virtually no fire brigade. Any resultant casualties are put squarely at the door of the brothers in the FBU.
Scenario 2: exactly the same as 1, but no fatalities. After several weeks of strike (whether selective or all-out) nothing has happened. Prescott can then say that the brothers' bluff has been well and truly called. They're not an essential service after all, and they can put their demands where the sun doesn't shine. Result: final defeat of the FBU.
I'm just wondering whether Prescott will have the bottle.
d_s not in milton keynes we didn't mate, 2 weeks, only 3 fires - 1 burnt out matterss, 1 small car fire and 1 where some bloke put his pizza in the oven still in its cardboard box! It was the most boring thing I've ever done in my life (and I've done a Tiffy course) made worse by the fact that we watched the first rounds going down in the TA centre whilst on call AND by the fact that a basic firefighter was after more money than almost all of those called on to cover them. Shiisters