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Resident Serbian Sniper
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Well it's a topical subject and even if you don't want to be "drawn in" or voice an opinion as a member of the public you should as divers.In any incident where the EMS are involved with a diving incident the Brigade will attend if required.Now this may occur more than you may think,the first port of call for trapped people is..the Brigade.When kids fall in reservoirs etc.the first people to begin searching is the Brigade,who will you call when your car sets afire..with your full twinset in the boot? These folks do much much more than put fires out,and they do it with less than adequate equipment(eg.the hydraulic cutting gear on appliances)and often without adequate training(eg.water rescues,I know I've done training sessions for them,gratis)
Now they're aware of the deficiencies in kit,training etc,and still they're always there,ready to go into Christ knows what, in case WE need them.And they don't do it for the bloody money,that much is obvious.I work in Further Education at the minute where tutors get approx £18 an hour.It's not an ideal comparison I know,but it does put some things into perspective,altough Teaching in some areas can be rough Teachers don't knowingly face death every time they enter the classroom,Firefighters do.
As a Commercial diver we would'nt bother working for £50 a day,but we're happy to let Firefighters be there to pull us out of the mire,24/7,for not much more.Some people actually have the gall to critisise the strike action,would they do it?I don't know of one Firefighter,and I know a couple,who wanted to strike,I beleive if they were that way inclined they'd be working on a car production line somewhere(no offence intended there).In addition,even though they are on strike,they're still leaving pickets when lives are at risk.
The Govt says it can't afford to pay a decent wage as there is'nt the funds available in that sector.Having spent over 8 years working in the "public sector" maybe they should be a little less idealistic with their ideas and spending and put the money where it's needed - and deserved.2 million to rebuild a Holding Centre for asylum seekers,that they've already burnt down once(there's got to be some irony there).Millions spent "rehabilitating" drug abusers,criminals,paedophiles etc, etc.I ask you? Meanwhile many Firefighters hold down 2 jobs,not just for more money,but just to get by.
Sure,everyone deserves a chance,those who'll risk everything for YOU surely deserve more though?
 

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Well we have at least one fireman on the boards (Andy 2Tanx)so you won't get to much disagreement on your points. Successive Governments have always treated the Public Sector something like " you don't like the pay? then get another job then!".  

Ironically, we seem to have plenty enough money to go to war in distant foreign lands (for as yet ill-defined reasons) but not for public safety, funny that innit?

The reasoning seems to be that if the firemen get a raise, then nurses et al will want one too and apparently there isn't money for that (we could start by geting rid of one of Johnny-Two-Jags cars ?) .

For comparison re public spending: the prison population at 70 odd thousand is now far higher (about 15,000 more) than a few years ago (1996) and it costs about £15 -18,000 per annum to keep one person banged up
so... 15,000 people multiplied by a minimum £15,000 = £30,000,000 more public spending than in 1996.

So the money is there when it suits government policy.

(Edited by Steve W at 1:23 pm on Nov. 25, 2002)
 

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Firefighters?! Just a bunch of scrounging, work-shy layabouts!!!!

Err..sorry, I'm on the correct meds now!

Bottom line is: would I enter a burning 'anything' to look for persons (alive or dead), stay with a fire until the seat of it is out and it doesn't rekindle, make sure the integrity of the site is secured so that investigators can check for arson, climb rediculously high ladders and secure trapped people on the nth-teenth floor - and bring them down safely, recover bodies from a motorway pile-up, try and get a drip into someone who's legs are trapped and their head crushed whilst they're screaming what remains of their life away - and just about any other nasty job that needs to be done as a public service?? And all for the princely sum of £21K and change a year???

Now let me think about that for 2 split nano-seconds. NO!! I can't think of a polite way to say 'Fcuk off', can you?

In reality, what's being asked for is a raise from £6.50 an hour to £8 and hour - and yet Gordon "The Iron (yet tediously DULL) Chancellor" Brown can't find that in his piggy bank?? He's been boring the arse off anyone that will listen for the last 5 years on just how 'frugal' he's managed to be in saving the country billions! So where's this money now it's needed??

Sorry, Blair (not that I voted for the [email protected] in the 1st place), Brown and their ilk have just done the biggest U-turn (and dumped all over their once public sector 'brothers-in-arms-in-the-unions' in the process) on record.

The iron chancellor is beginning to show signs of rust me thinks. Blair's press-conference today saw him back-peddaling like a JAMF and him embarrassment was palpable.

So the solid body of 'working class' (what ever that means nowadays) voters that made the rump of his 97 election victory will see this as betrayal and possibly how they might get treated when they take their own demands to him in future??

Ironically, the 'comfortable middle class' (again, what ever that means nowadays) that was so happy to swing over to him in droves to oust the Tories has seen New Labour (or should that read 'New Favour'?) in its true colours - and they don't like the colours.

Other than Andy2Tanx, Nitrox and my mate in Glasgow (also called Andy) and Mark Eaves (a PADI instructor at Probe Diving in Oldham), there are rucks of fire-fighters the country-wide that shall be re-examining where they place their 'X' at the next election.

Blair would do well to re-watch Todd Browning's 1931 film classic 'Frankenstein'; the part where the villagers storm the castle and 'remove' the Baron - their once benefactor.
 

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It could of course open a can of worms.I do remember though how the Nurses fought some years ago for a pay rise,in fact the RCN is making rumblings again apparently(and the RCN is about as hard line as a WRVS Knitting convention).Does the UK have a monopoly on treating it's vital public sector workers like shite?It seems that while Nurses,Firefighters etc.will,mainly by vocation, be there to help people,then successive Govts.pay them dire wages(proportionately)because that vocational motivation/dedication(or whatever)keeps them working so as not to put anyone at risk.
It just makes me really angry.Last year,I attended ROSPA's conference on water safety,on behalf of a water rescue team and was connected with water rescues and the Brigade's involvement.It was'nt until I was approached by a Group Commander(?) from London who had been given the task of looking at the same issues that the picture began to become clear.The Brigade hardly has the funds to man and equip itself to fight fires,never mind looking at anything else.There were various "specialists" there,by invitation,attempting to flog the gear the Brigade "needed" for water rescues.These began with some very mediocre suits from a high street recreational mnftr for eg.The bigger picture was on the whole a farce,with misinformation,ignorance,squabbling and shoulder slides on a scale found only in govt.management circles
Point being,that no matter how farcical these issues are,and how poorly they're paid,thee Firefighters continue to be there  for us.
As for the cost of keeping people in Prison,it's outrageous.I worked in Forensic Psychiatry and the money spent on accomodation assesment,treatment,drug regimes and rehab on people whose only contribution to society is negative is beyond beleif.
Surely our priorities are beyond beleif? The firefighters must on the whole be amongst if not the most loved and respected group of workers in the country.I wonder if the Govts.failed to recognise that.It's not so much the raise issue that I find annoying,it's the poor salary and thus lack of recognition by the Govt to these guys(and girls).
Take care all,Hobby.

(Edited by Hobby at 1:43 pm on Nov. 25, 2002)
 

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I agree guys, modern values are completely messed up; you can make 50k as a mobile phone salesman but get 21k to risk your life entering a burning building. And don't get me started on today's obsession with f***ing "celebrities".
Celebrities and mobile phones - burn the lot of 'em I say!

It's even more galling considering they were about to settle for 16% until the government stuck their noses in, now its back to square one.
Let's not forget the paramedics too- they train very hard to do what most people seem to think is a glorified taxi driving job.

PS Bren, I thought the original 1931 Frankenstein was directed by James Whale and Todd Browning directed Dracula?

(Edited by Steve W at 2:40 pm on Nov. 25, 2002)
 

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It's thanks to firefighters that I'm alive and well today, after pulling me out of a house fire when I was 5.  They're not worth a 40% rise - double it I say.  If the government can award themselves huge pay rises, then others should get it.  Pity they don't practice what they preach.
 

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My father and brother are both fire fighters and on strike and i agree they should be paid more but I risk my life day in day out and I got a 3% rise this year plus all my days off have been cancelled. So no days off and sh*t pay its not just fire fighters who get crap pay all public sector workers are in the same boat. moan over I hope they get a large pay rise.
 

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The way the firefighters have been treated is as unfair as it is politically stupid.

The Sun appears to be backing the gov't in its refusal to deal adequately with the pay issue saying that the ecomony can't afford large wage rises in the public sector.

Maybe if News International (the publisher's of the Sun and News of the World) paid more than a derisery ammount of tax then we'd all be able to have pay rises. Maybe if Labour Lord Levy paid more than the pittance that his business interest coughed up to the treasury last year (less than 5k) then teachers, nurses, paramedics, firefighters and other essential services would have adequate housing and standards of living.

Since 1980 the richest 5% are some 73% better off. You know the rest yourself.

Since coming to power the Labour government have cut corporation tax to the lowest rate in 50 years.

The Tories would not make the situation any better, in fact they would probably have sacked ther entire workforce and enforced military "no strike" contracts.

What can you do?

1. If you have a Labour MP - take over your local Labour party. Most CLPs are made up of the same faces that go to the meetings every now and then. Get thirty friends together and you could almost seize power. If your MP does not support public service workers then get him/her deselected. It takes time but it can be done.
2. Make it difficult for 'em. If you hear that a cabinet minister is coming to your town, get some mates together and f*ck up his photo opportunity. Be loud, be funny, take the agenda and make it yours. If he wants to open a school ask him why the cleaners at that school on a contracted out job earn less than they did before, ask him why the teachers will have to live miles away from the school because the can't afford local housing costs.

Do it right in front of the cameras and "p*ss on his chips" as it were.

Don't give up on democracy. It's still the best of the available options.
 

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The Artist formerly known as 'Kirky'
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Oh well - just to flame things a bit (bad pun and not meant to p*ss everyone off) but I do not think Firemen deserve the so called 40% that has been bandied about - and I`m afraid that holding people to ransom is not acceptable.

I have a lot of respect for these guys, its a difficult job. Yes they should get more, but then shouldn`t everyone??

Are they more valuable than the police, nurses, army etc etc.

I beleive that in life everyone has choices - if you dont like it then do something else - thats why I changed jobs many times to support my wife, kids and improve our lifestyle - shit, thats how I can afford to dive etc etc!!

It doesn`t help, of course, that people are apparently queueing for fireman jobs - by all account 40 per vacancy - all willing to work for the current wage. It doesn`t also help that the Government are acting like dicks in the Management of the strike/negotiations - which could have been averted by the publicised 15% offer

At the end of the day we are driven by market forces, there are no jobs for life any more. You dont get summit for nowt nowadays - sadly

No offence to anyone - just a different viewpoint
 

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"Are they more valuable than the police, nurses, army etc etc."  Simple answer, no we are not more valuable than the aforementioned groups, and at no time have we the firefighters claimed we are.  However, it is not up to firefighters to fight for better wages for all these groups.  That is the responsibility of theirs alone.  As for comparing us with the police, next year a 15 year constable will earn approx £34000 a year including housing allowance and bonus, not to mention overtime.  Are police worth that much more than firefighters, nurses, paramedics etc?


"I beleive that in life everyone has choices - if you dont like it then do something else - thats why I changed jobs many times to support my wife, kids and improve our lifestyle - shit, thats how I can afford to dive etc etc!!"  thats correct we all have choices.  Its a good job then that all the firefighters dont pack their jobs in and leave the country without firecover permanently then isnt it?  What would happen then?

"people are apparently queueing for fireman jobs - by all account 40 per vacancy"  and exactly how many of these 40 people are actually suitable for the job?

"we are driven by market forces, there are no jobs for life any more"  a sad fact of life that we are all tied to the money factor.  But has it occured to people that the fire service will NEVER make money, but rather continue to cost the country x amount of pounds every year.  Rather like an insurance policy.  When weas the last time you got money back from your insurance?  The fire service is just a big insurance policy for the country.  you hope never to need it, but when people do, then we are there every day of the year. how much is that worth?

So people, put your thoughts forward.  how much are firefighters worth?  10k, 20k, or more?
 

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Andy,

I think my views are very clear on this issue. And I think it's easy to understand.

The old maxim of "you get what you pay for" really does count.

As divers we probably wouldn't use a regulator that we knew was slightly dodgy but cheap.

That would be dangerous and a false economy.

Likewise when I have a fire I want the best of the best turning up. When I'm stuck in a car I want an expert cutting me out.

There are lots of people that would do a firefighters job for 20k but would they be the best?

I know many people who have left the teaching profession who were brilliant committed educationalists. One guy sells insurance now - he used to teach anatomy to medical students. He's on double the dough but what a loss to the profession.

Low wages will not deter entrants to firefighting but what it will do is (after the taxpayer has paid for all the training) is not keep people in the job and they'll do what Kirky said and go and get another job leaving behind either those who are just committed to their job and accept crap wages or the one's that couldn't get a job elsewhere.

Frankly when I'm stuck in the building I don't want the guy who's rescuing me to be worrying about how to make his rent that month.

I think the FBU made a mistake with the 40% figure as it's not achievable in one go and a PR nightmare but the 16% that was on the table months ago would suit both sides and bingo - strike over.

The "modernisation" that the gov't are talking about are really "service cuts" - when it comes to public safety can we accept second best?

So what's a trained firefighter worth? I dunno but I don't think that between 25 and 30k is excessive. I also would be prepared to pay more tax to ensure that all public service workers get a fairer deal.
 

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Killed in the line of Duty. RIP.
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Nige, I didn't realise that you had gotten a 396 rise, cor you must be rolling in it


How's this for an idea, the emergency services Fire, Ambluance, thats paramedics ('cos they get about £18,000 and year and do they ever earn it) and the filth all get huge pay rises 40 percent plus.

I can even tell the Prime minister how to fund it!
Simple, pay the lawyers, including his wife, (who as far as I am aware has never saved anyones life) less out of the legal aid budget. Should leave loads and have a tax cut as well

Seriously though what sort of world do we live in where Lawyers earn more than the PM, who can, by the way can start a Nuclear war. Yet the Medics and firemen (people) who say live each day get a pitence.

You could blame the Police I suppose, they are responsble for everything else
 

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One last question, andy2tanks, have you got any applications for the Police job?
Seriously, I want to join, how can I get paid that much?
Or is this one of those propaganda thingy's, you know the sort Gorbels used to spread?
I remember seeing pictures of the Army bomb disposal vans with the registrations blacked out and Scargil saying the army was on the picket lines

Not true I'm afraid
Still a good tale though
 

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The Artist formerly known as 'Kirky'
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Andy - I find it difficult to disagree with your comments, or those made by Gavin. Problem is where does the trade off end ? and as you say `at what cost`

Like most people I only `know` what I read in the press or hear on TV - yes I have some mates who have worked as firemen and they tell me (again I can only judge on what I hear) that conditions have remained the same since the last dispute 25 years ago. Is it true that overtime is not allowed ??, for example and is this part of the `modernisation` package ??

My view is that the government seem to have lost the chance of the `win win` last week when they vetoed the 16%. I suspect that the fire brigade will be seen as the floodgate to everyone else.

The Government have made a mistake, but I cant help thinking that the Fire Union went too hard for the 40%

Like all disputes a compromise will have to be struck. Am I happy to pay more to support this, yes but not to the tune of 40% and certainly not for a deal that doesn`t build in improvements in services.

Again, no offence to anyone, we all have the right to make choices - including fighting for a better deal as long as both sides dont get immersed in dogma - surely the war is more important than the battle.
 

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cut and pasted off elsewhere.

We are worth 40%.

That must be true, because the people that said it are the same ones that
said the MP's were worth 45%, and they got paid.

So we reduce the number of fire fighters by 40%.  Simple.

I say we shut the stations around Westminster first though!

I'll be saving life only though, and letting the bricks and mortar burn.  I
won't be getting any cats out of trees either!


Next - Modernisation (1)
Thats easy too.  Let's accept that we should attend Road Traffic Accidents!

My plumber wanted £55 to walk through the door, and £29 for each 15mins
thereafter, so.......

2 fire engines plus a Rescue Unit x crew of 5 (each)  x £55 = £825 call out,
and £435 per 15 minutes.  Sounds reasonable to me!  Just tag it on the
bottom of any insurance claim.

That would add up to say 5% salary increase.


Next - Modernisation (2)
That's easy too!  Lets agree to get people out of lifts!

We do loads of those.  Let's be charitable and charge a mere £100 per time.
2,000 on my ground / 4 watches / 7 per watch = £7,100 for me!


Next - Modernisation (3)
Thats easy too!  I've had this great idea called 'Community Fire Safety'.

Any time that were not attending fires or charging  £580 per hour, we could
put up smoke alarms.  The local council wanted to charge £107.00 to fit one
in an old-age-pensioner's house.  I say let competition decide, so lets
undercut the council and charge the OAP's a mere £100.  It would take me
about 5 mins to put one up with sticky-pads, and 5 mins between jobs makes 6
an hour, ie £600 per hour.

I'm lazy and get up late like John Prescott, so just one alarm per day (91
days) would add over 42% to my income!


THE BOTTOM LINE

21,500    basic
 8,600    the 40% I deserve, just like the MP's
  1,000    from RTA's (5%)
  7,100    from shut-in-lifts
  9,100    from fitting smoke alarms
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47,300    per annum!
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regarding the modernisation thing we are getting so much media attention on at the moment.

i have trained almost to paramedic standard.  i hold an emergency responder instructing ticket.  i have an instructor qualification in rta and casualty management.  this includes keeping up with technological advances in the motor industry.  i have larnt how to deal with air bags, seat belt tensioners, impact bars and a host of other things that were not present in cars 25 years ago.  i am qualified in line rescues, water rescues (obviously!), chemical incidents, inner cordon management, defibrillation units and the use of those, which are carried on all appliances in west yorkshire, i can use highly powerful hydraulic cutting gear which was not present on pumps 25 years ago, back then they used hacksaws and crowbars, i use thermal image cameras to find casualties in heat and smoke faster, i have been taught to initiate the first stages of the command and control system at major fires, something that has only been in existence for around 8 years, and much more new equipment and procedures that have magically appeared in the british fire service over the years without the brigade becoming modernised.  how can this be so.  to hear blair talk you would think that none of these advancements have made a difference to the job.  according to him and his spin doctors the fire service has stood still for 25 years.  not so.

make no mistake about it. modernisation means cuts in the fire service as a whole.  your local fire station will be closed at night and if your house burns then the men coming to help you will probably have already worked a shift already that day, how can that be a step forward?  
 

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For those who object to the firemens pay rise, I would like to see their houses being destroyed by fire and the insurance companies refusing a payout for some reason or other.  This would make them see how important the firemans' job is.
 

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does anyone remember the government earier this year, simply voting themselves a big fat 40% pay rise, plus a free pension scheme (30,000+ per year without having to contribute into)?
i can, but it was all hushed up just before the 3 month holiday the mps always have.
if big tony and the boys can have 40%, then so should the firemen.
just my 2p worth
 

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Resident Serbian Sniper
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Well,what can you add?One common thread here is that people feel that the public sector workers are underpaid anyway.Add this to the fact that the Govt's bleating last night was centered on the beleif that if they give the Firefighters a rise the other public sector workers will then demand more(never mind so called modernisation,look what it's done for the Forces).Well then yes they probably will.
Tjhe Police are about the best off in this equation,it is after all prudent perhaps for a Govt.to keep it's Police force "sweet".Nurses got a rise at some point in the past.The people who seem to have gone ignored for a while is the Firefighters,I recognise that Paramedics have too(I was going to apply in the past until I saw the wage,I went into nursing instead).One can only presume that the Paramedics may well be watching with interest the current events.Maybe the Govt.has realised this and is aware that the repercussions from this dispute will affect many public service sector workers.Perhaps they have awakened a sleeping giant in effect.
It is somewhat concerning that even in a so-called Democracy to see how the Media is effectively steered by the Govt.to sway public opinion.In many cases,media coverage is biased indeed even to the most unobservant.Worse still some issues are banned(there is an effective journalistic block on matters concerning stories connected to the CSA for eg.)It is my fear that the Govt.will "use" the media(as it does already)to weaken the Public's support for the firefighters,and portray them in a poor light.Take care,Hobby.
 
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