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Firefighters must live in the real world too: Editor's Eye comment
AT one time firefighters were a protected species, they were totally beyond criticism.
Police officers were also held in high esteem, but they could be called to task and weren’t untouchable in the same way.
Then, in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year firefighters called their first national strike demanding a 30 per cent pay rise.
At this point they moved from being untouchables to being ordinary people, albeit people who do a very important job.
Almost overnight members of the public saw this greed for what it was and the facts firefighters already received ridiculously generous pension arrangements, were free to have second jobs and actually got paid for sleeping were also brought into focus for the first time.
Firefighters have since gone on strike many more times and slipped further in the public perception. They still retire early, sleep at work and plumb in toilet cisterns in their down time.
Maybe this is reasonable, maybe it isn’t, but one thing’s for sure, firefighters are now very much seen as ordinary people.
And, having chosen to give up their exhalted position to join the real world, they must now accept they have relinqueshed their invincibility cloaks and must be subject to all the same challenges we all face.
Exactly what cuts should be made is not a matter for us, such decisions will be taken by the politicians we have elected, but that firefighters are forced to cut costs, reduce waste and make necessary redundancies, just like the rest of us have been forced to do, can only be right and proper.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the views expressed here? Do firefighters live in a privileged bubble and need to accept the harsh realities of cutbacks and modernisation, or do they deserve more protection than people in other jobs? Add your comments below.
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