Jim Barbour - Fire Brigades Union
National Executive Committee Member for Northern Ireland (Region 2)

Press Release - Issued 3pm 4th Nov

Row brewing over BBC gag on election candidate

A major row is brewing over the decision of the BBC to cancel radio interviews about the unfolding dispute in the fire service over pay with Jim Barbour, who represents firefighters locally on the Executive Committee of the Fire Brigades Union. The reason given for cancelling the arranged interviews was that Jim Barbour is a candidate in the election, standing for the Socialist Party in South Belfast.

Jim Barbour commented:

"I am very angry at what amounts to a gag on the FBU. I have been in London since Sunday involved in detailed discussions on what could be a very serious situation as fire fighters are once again forced to take industrial action, this time to prevent the employers and government reneging on the pay deal. "As the only Executive Committee member from Northern Ireland I am the only person equipped to inform firefighters and the public in Northern Ireland what is happening. I would be speaking as a leader of the FBU and not in my capacity as an election candidate. "It is my strong view, and also that of my FBU colleagues in the Northern Ireland region, that our union, not the BBC, has the sole right to decide who our spokespersons will be. It would be an outrage if a major dispute were to develop involving our members and I, as their representative on the union Executive, were to be gagged for the next three weeks and not allowed to inform people what is happening in the national negotiations".
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