Thursday, 25 November 2010

Brian Coleman calls firefighter union thick thugs

There were calls for Boris Johnson's fire chief to stand down today after he labeled firefighting union members as "thugs and bullies" who are "thick [and] can't string a sentence together"

In an interview with the Ham and High out today Brian Coleman said that most firefighters were "decent" but added that:

"The union are thoroughly unpleasant and nasty lot - they always have been. They are not affiliated with the Labour Party and stories about bullying and intimidation go right back to the strike in the late 70s. You just have to stand up to thugs and bullies...

"Most of the union officials, if they had half a brain cell, they'd be dangerous. Most of them are thick, can't string a sentence together and frankly are incoherent. We have to break the FBU frankly..."

Coleman said that there would "inevitably" be job losses and confirmed that 27 fire engines could be cut despite Boris Johnson's denials.

"The dispute is not over by a long way so obviously the engines are still with Asset Co. They will remain there until the disputes over but it is meanwhile sensible to look at whether we need them. We have managed without them for a month, they've been sitting in a depot in South Ruislip - no one has noticed. We've got to save £60million in four years out of the Fire Brigade budget: we've got to make savings."

Green Party member of the MPA Darren Johnson said that Coleman was "addicted to conflict" and should resign:

"Brian Coleman's latest comments show that he has never been interested in resolving this dispute in an amicable way, he just wants to break the FBU. Even as the London Fire Brigade and the FBU are on the verge of an agreed settlement over shift patterns Brian Coleman weighs in and tries to wreck things. Brian Coleman has become addicted to conflict. It's time for him to go and the London Mayor should ask him to resign."

The interview comes shortly after Coleman's disastrous LBC encounter in which he contradicted the Mayor's promises to maintain fire engines and accused the Mayor of hanging him out to dry.

Labour's Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone said today:

"Boris must get a grip and sack his confrontational fire chief if we're to have long-term solutions to challenges facing the fire brigade."

The Mayor's office have yet to comment.

-Update- Labour's deputy leader on the London Assembly John Biggs has now written to Boris calling on him to sack Coleman.

FBU General Matt Wrack said today:

"It is important, if industrial relations in the fire service are to get back on an even keel, that we have someone sensible to talk to at the LFEPA.  I have been afraid recently, as his remarks became wilder, that Mr Coleman was starting to lose the plot. It appears he has now lost it...

"There are important things to talk about. There are the 27 fire engines which have been taken away from the London Fire Service.  Until yesterday, Mr Coleman was saying they were taken away because they were not needed.  Now we find they have been taken away because, in some way, Mr Coleman thinks it will punish the FBU.  It doesn’t punish the FBU; it punishes Londoners.  If there is a major incident – say a terrorist incident – we will need every fire engine we have, and I hope they will be speedily returned to their fire stations and be ready for deployment.”

Boris Johnson meanwhile says he has rebuked Brian but supports his "modernising agenda"


Anonymous said...

It is Brian Coleman and not the FBU who is a roadblock to reform of the fire service. All we will see is more conflict and strikes until he is removed.

Anonymous said...

He just can't help himself, can he?

Anonymous said...

Brian Coleman is probably being secretly praised for his Radical Approach and for being out spoken, how else is he getting away with it. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

Coleman says people havnt noticed. Do people know the sham of vehicle redeployments being conducted every 3 hours? Due to mismanagement there are not enough junior officers to man the engines so crewws from all across London are moving from station to station every 3 hours to cover further stations beyond the 27 appliances which have been stolen!

Anonymous said...

Coleman should not even be ask to resign now he should be unceremoniously kick out. He has gone too far with his totally unnecessary and derogatory comments. As a firefighter`s mother I take great exeption to these remarks.My son was well educated and studied until the age of 21 he became a FF because he really wanted to.If this odious person gets his way every public sector worker will have managers like him.He wants more than his pound of flesh as long as he has a really cushy life himself, off of the workers backs.

AdamB said...

Full interview now online:

ChrisW said...

"We've got to save £60million in four years out of the Fire Brigade budget: we've got to make savings."

Yes Brian, after all we are all in this together...aren't we?

Members' car mileage - Ministerial visit to LFEPA by Bob Neill MP

Congestion Charge - Ministerial visit to LFEPA by Bob Neill MP

Taxi (invoiced) - Taxi journey - Union St to 1 Poultry EC2 - lunch with Edward Lord JP at Coq d'Argent.

Source LFB members expenses

On this day he claims expenses for using his car despite having an Oyster card provided free as a GLA member. He then claims £33.87 for a journey which, according to google maps, is less than a mile and should take no more than 18 minutes to walk. The purpose of the journey- lunch!

Yep!! If we have got to pull in our belts lets start with those thicky firefighters...nasty oiks the lot of them.

Anonymous said...

Barnet blogs are saying that Brian is up for reselection as the GLA candidate, at a Barnet-plus-Camden Tory meeting - TODAY!

Lee Maclean said...

Just looking at the mans picture brings about feelings of intense anger in me.!!

Anonymous said...

Well, seems Mr Coleman is V popular. My partner started an online petition to have the mad man sacked. Only got 13 sigs so far.

Come on Londoners!

buddyhell said...

What a charmer. The man has to go.

vickim57 said...

There's another petition going here:

We call on the London Mayor Boris Johnson:

(1) to remove Brian Coleman from his post of chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA);

(2) to use his influence to get the threat of the sack lifted from London’s firefighters, and get the 27 fire engines currently in the possession of AssetCo returned to the London Fire Brigade;

(3) to honour his pre-election commitment to “safeguard LFEPA resources, including equipment and stations”.

Morris Hickey said...

Coleman seems, I'm afraid, to be protected (for reasons that are beyond me) by the management of the Conservative Group at the London Assembly. He is arrogant, rude, avaricious and filled with self-importance.

I doubt he has ever had a real job and rakes in from Barnet, the Assembly, and LFEPA the equivalent of 3 reasonable salaries. It's a disgrace and he should go NOW.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see someone with the balls to stand up to the union loafers and their thuggish support.