Hello, my name is Tim Roedel and I’m standing for TUSC (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) in Grove Green ward in the forthcoming council elections on May 22nd.
I am the Fire Brigades Union Waltham Forest Borough Secretary and I have worked at Leytonstone Fire Station for the last fourteen years.
I want to stand to help the campaign that is calling for an end to ALL cuts; we’ve had enough. We’ve particularly had enough in Waltham Forest.
In Waltham Forest we have lost 3 fire engines from the service due to cuts, one from my very own station. Nationally, we are expected to suffer a 30% cut in provision, this is unprecedented.
There have been 3,845 firefighter job cuts across the UK since 2011. This has had the effect of slowing down responses to 999 emergency calls and increasing the risk to communities.
Firefighters have seen three years of pension contribution increases and are facing a fourth. Government is proceeding with plans for an unworkable pension scheme for the future.
The floods last Christmas showed that it is not just fires that we deal with. There is more pressure on the service than ever, and fewer and fewer resources to perform the tasks that are needed. 70% of England’s fire and rescue services were involved in the floods, but there is still no clear duty for them to respond to floods (unlike in Scotland and Northern Ireland). Funding and resources are still not adequate for the threats faced by local communities.
Leytonstone Fire Station is due to be demolished and replaced with a new building next year using The Private Finance Initiative Model (PFI). This is where a private company builds the building and the Fire Service pays the building company back over many years. I hope that this does not turn out to be as disastrous for the fire service as it has been for the NHS. Huge cuts to Whipps Cross are being attributed to the calamitous PFI scheme down at Barts and The London. We wouldn’t want to be held to ransom by private building firms that could potentially mean stations have to close and firefighters lose their jobs; all to pay for a building that should have been built and financed in the public sector.
I am proud to be standing with other trade unionists and socialists campaigning against cuts, particularly those working in the local hospital Whipps Cross. I believe if elected I would oppose all cuts to local services, having been on the receiving end of them in the fire service. We need anti-cuts campaigners to be visible, vocal and oppositional wherever they can. The more we raise the need to tax the rich, renationalise the utilities and use the revenue on public services, the more chance we have of galvanising people against austerity.