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Friday, 10 April 2009

UK Greens welcome court ruling for disabled firefighters

The following is an article from the Green Party of the Unitied Kingdom website.

How could firefighters who put their lives on the line to help others be treated in such a way by a supposedly carring government?

Green Party Disability Spokesperson Alan Wheatley said today: "I am delighted that the FBU has found support in the Appeal Court to overturn unfair Government rulings on the pension rights of disabled firefighters.[1]

"The Government's decision to withdraw redeployment and pension rights was grossly unfair but remarkably in keeping with its stance of riding roughshod over the employment and welfare rights of disabled people and disregarding our experience and training."

"The withdrawal of redeployment rights and pension prospects for firefighters who become disabled while in active service showed no consideration for the firefighters' contribution to society or residual capabilities."

By contrast, under the Government's welfare reform agenda, once disabled people become unemployed, as benefit claimants they would be required to make themselves available for any work not ruled out by their ill-health or impairments.[2] [3] [4]

The Court of Appeal overturned Government-imposed denial of the firefighters' rights. "As FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack has said, it is now up to Government to rewrite the guidance on firefighters' redeployment and pension rights," Mr Wheatley concluded.



[2] Alan Wheatley is Disability Spokesperson for the Green Party of England & Wales and its Trade Union Group.
[3] This Government signed up to the UN Convention on Rights of Disabled Persons in March 2007 but has so far failed to ratify the agreement. Instead, it has sought several opt-outs. It has also closed Remploy factories, shedding highly skilled workers as Remploy's corporate rebranding has been toward providing jobsearch supports instead. This has also destroyed workers' communities in the name of getting disabled workers more into mainstream employment.

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