by Lynda Archard
©: Dec 2002
The last few weeks in London have confused a few people here. Firemen have already organised two strikes and have more planned for the weeks leading up to Christmas. Just in time for Christmas candles and millions of ancient badly wired fairy lights to burn houses down. The army have launched their ancient green goddess engines into action when a fire alarm sounds and local firemen have joined them if lives are in danger. Teachers striking for more money even joined them. The poor people canít afford to buy their own houses because the prices are too high in London and are actually holding the people of this country to ransom. Teachers demand a note from me when my daughter is not in school and yet donít care where the children are when they scream for more money. Firemen want their pay doubled to buy luxury houses and a better living condition without caring about where the money comes from. What happened to job satisfaction? Or Caring for the good of the community?
I know some readers will ask me why I donít agree with wage increases for fire fighters. They do a good job and save lives donít they. I have met fire fighters and teachers through my work and socially - I have never met a poor one. I also lived in a road with a fire station at the end for twenty years. During this time the engines drove out about three times per week and most were false alarms. It was embarrassing to walk passed the station with most of them hanging out of windows whistling and cheering at every schoolgirl that walked passed all day and they often played football most of the working day.
When a fire engine was called to my house I later discovered that a so-called friend of my children had called them for a laugh. I contacted the fire brigade who told me to contact the police who told me to contact the fire brigade. No one cared or wanted to even give the 15 year old brat a good talking too about the dangers of hoax calls!
Fire fighters I have met have not all saved a life that they are aware of. Most have said that the fire could have spread and might have killed someone or they have got people out of small fires. That is not to say that they they don't do an excellent job. We are all in need of good services all of the time. That is not my point at all. But picture this: If, while out walking the dog, a child has fallen close to a fire with a broken leg. The fire brigade are on strike and he is there playing on his own because his teachers are on strike and parents have to work in their low paid jobs and I rescue him from the flames and take him to hospital, should I be paid £40,000 per year to sit around in case it happens again? I donít think so. I canít afford a small shed at the moment and would love more money to buy a house. While waiting for a modest average £10,000 job to give me an adequate lifestyle perhaps I could strike and refuse to take my child to school until they give me a job at the school? I donít mind sweeping floors, running errands, serving school dinners, fixing their computer network or any other duties that pay a wage. After doing my free courses and training to be a computer network administrator, graphic designer and programmer I want a certain amount of money to buy a house and would love to teach Ė But I canít afford the training to be a teacher!
Fire Brigade Strike Dates
This is London - News on striking firefighters and teachers
Teacher explains why he is striking dated March 2002
© Lynda Archard