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Harassment problems ‘go right to the top’ says FBU


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Following the publication of a report revealing the prevalence of discrimination, harassment, and bullying across UK Fire and Rescue Services from His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has responded saying discrimination and harassment problems “go right to the top”

FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack said: “Firefighters have the right to work without fear of being mistreated because of their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability or neurodiversity – or bullied or abused while doing their job.

“Just as much as fire contaminants and unsafe working practices, this kind of behaviour is a matter of health and safety in the workplace.

“It is welcome that His Majesty’s Inspectorate is beginning to address these issues, and to acknowledge the scale of the problem. Our Equalities Sections have also raised concerns about these issues for many years.

“It is clear, both from our experience and from the contents of this report, that the failure to address discrimination and harassment in the service goes right to the top.”

Wrack said that some fire service leaders are part of the problem, and have systematically failed to address discrimination, harassment and bullying in the service: “This report corroborates those experiences. It details how racism, homophobia and misogyny are routinely ignored, or even instigated, by people at the very top, and that firefighters are scared to speak out. Complainants have found themselves under investigation or subject to disciplinary proceedings.”

He added that the Fire Brigades Union is committed to transforming the culture of Fire and Rescue Services: “As the only democratic and representative body for firefighters and control room staff, the Fire Brigades Union will take a leading role in transforming the culture of the Fire and Rescue Service, putting Women, LGBT and Black and Ethnic Minority firefighters in the driving seat of our campaign.”

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