Firefighters to protest against suspension of former Shadwell station manager

Firefighters will protest tomorrow against the suspension of a colleague - a former Shadwell station manager - who received an award from the Queen last week.

Sian Griffiths, a firefighter for over 25 years, was suspended on November 11, just two days after she received the Queen’s Fire Service Medal at Buckingham Palace for her distinguished service.

A Fire Brigades Union (FBU) spokeswoman said Ms Griffiths was suspended over allegations of harassment and bullying relating to the ongoing industrial dispute over shift patterns.

A group of female firefighters are planning to protest against the suspension outside London Fire Brigade headquarters in Southwark from 1pm.

A London Fire Brigade (LFB) spokesman would not confirm why she has been suspended.

He said; “A number of staff have been suspended from duty following evidence of potential acts of gross misconduct. “Investigations are ongoing and the Brigade cannot comment further at this stage.”

Ian Lehair, the FBU’s executive member for the London region, is writing to London’s fire commissioner Ron Dobson calling for her immediate re-instatement.

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Ms Griffiths previously worked as the station manager for Shadwell fire station in Cable Street before recently moving to a training role at the LFB’s Southwark Training Centre.

Former firefighter Ghada Razuki, an ex-colleague of Ms Griffiths, is playing a role in helping organise Thursday’s lobby.

She said: “Sian has spent her life campaigning against bullying and harassment at work and has over 25 years of service, which was recognised by the Queen at Buckingham Palace only days ago.

“This suspension is an insult to Sian and a waste of taxpayer’s money.

“It should be lifted immediately.

“It can be seen as a direct response to Sian’s refusal to become a compliant manager and her refusal to bully those she has responsibility for.”

Ms Griffiths is the current chair of the FBU’s Women’s Action Committee and has been a long-standing campaigner for greater equality in the fire service.

She attended the King’s Cross fire in 1987 in which 31 people died.

In an attempt to end the industrial dispute over proposed changes to shift patterns, representatives of the LFB and FBU met with the independently-chaired Resolution Advisory Panel yesterday.

At the offices of the British Medical Association in Tavistock Square, negotiation teams met with joint secretaries representing both sides and an independent chair, William Brown, a professor of industrial relations.

The panel is expected to make recommendations to both parties within seven days of the meeting.

The LFB wants to have equal day and shift patterns of twelve hours each which the union opposes.