Mike Kirby, head of UNISON Scotland, addressed supporters in St Enoch's Square. He reminded them that Fire Fighters enjoyed huge support from the public and he thanked them for the important work they do. He also stressed that the men and women fire fighters were the first to say that they could not do their difficult jobs without the specialised support team around them
All fire fighting teams need fleet and hydrant mechanics, administrative officers and pay roll workers, cleaners and caterers, community safety advocates, training and education departments, store men and women, drivers, ICT, communications experts and technicians. All of these people play an essential role in the Fire Service.
UNISON members in the fire service face a very uncertain future. The Headquarters of the former Fife and Central Fire and Rescue Board’s are earmarked for closure, meaning these local communities are losing the economic benefits of these facilities. Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and East Lothian will also lose sites employing support staff. Many support staff roles are being drawn into the Central Belt, again impacting on local economies across Scotland.
Staff are waiting for decisions about re-deployment, some are being relocated and their pay is being reviewed. The impact of the £19 million budget cut is being felt by all support staff.
Finally Mike sent a message to all politicians, telling them "The respect and appreciation for the service is not measured by cost, it is measured in the security and safety of our people, at work and in their communities. Fire fighters need to know when they look over their shoulder their support staff are right there with them"