Discrimination and harassment problems go “right to the top” says Fire Brigades Union

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services has today produced a report into ‘Values and Culture in Fire and Rescue Services’.

The report notes widespread discrimination, harassment and bullying across Fire and Rescue Services in the UK.

Responding to the report, 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. 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.

“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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