London

Campaign to reinstate London firefighter Sian Griffiths

Sian Griffiths
Image caption Sian Griffiths was one of the first female firefighters recruited in the capital

A campaign has begun to reinstate a firefighter who was suspended for alleged harassment two days after receiving a medal at Buckingham Palace.

Sian Griffiths was given the Queen's Fire Service Medal for "distinguished service".

She was suspended by the London Fire Authority last week for alleged bullying and harassment during the current dispute over shift patterns.

Fire Brigades Union members have staged a series of strikes in the capital.

The union said Ms Griffiths had received hundreds of messages of support since being escorted off the premises at the London Fire Brigade's Southwark Training Centre on Armistice Day.

Colleagues 'outraged'

Members of the Fire Brigades Union have staged a series of strikes in the capital in a dispute over new contracts, but called off a planned Bonfire Night walkout at the last minute.

Ian Leahair, the FBU's executive member for London, said colleagues were "outraged" at the suspension and were supporting demands for Ms Griffiths' immediate reinstatement.

The union said the "spiteful and vindictive" suspension was linked to a bullying complaint Ms Griffiths lodged against a senior official.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson 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."

Ms Griffiths, who chairs the FBU's Women's Action Committee in London, was one of the first female firefighters recruited in the capital.

Female colleagues are planning to stage a lobby of the London Fire Authority on Thursday in support of Ms Griffiths.

Former firefighter Ghada Razuki, who is helping to organise the lobby, said: "Sian has spent her life campaigning against bullying and harassment at work and has over 25 years of distinguished service, which was recognised by the Queen at Buckingham Palace only days ago.

"This suspension is an insult to Sian and a waste of taxpayers' money. It should be lifted immediately.

"There can be little doubt that this is retaliation for Sian supporting the two eight-hour strikes."

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