STUC Equality Award

Equality Award 2024

Award recipients with First Minister Humza Yousaf.

The recipients of the 2024 STUC Equality Award are three women who, with the full backing of the Fire Brigade Union (FBU), are breaking new ground in the battle to rid the Fire and Rescue Service of discrimination and creating a work culture which is open to all, irrespective of gender or race. Working in partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), FBU reps Rachel Rogers, Kerry McCrone and Seona Hart are campaigning for lasting change.

This year the award was sponsored by TUC Education in Scotland and presented by First Minister Humza Yousaf at the 2024 STUC Congress Dundee on 16th April. 

 

 

The Fire and Rescue Service in Scotland (and the rest of the UK) remains woefully under representative of our communities. Statistics from the SFRS evidence that women make up only 14% of the workforce, of which only 6% are employed in wholetime firefighting roles. Statistics for ethnicity are even worse with only 1.4% of SFRS staff identifying as being from an ethnic minority background.

From the need to provide safe fitting PPE for women firefighters to the ‘Fight for 52’ campaign to deliver 52 weeks fully paid maternity leave for expectant mothers employed in firefighting roles, the group are determined to bring about real change. 

Throughout 2020 there were a number of high-profile sexual harassment cases across the FBU. In response, Seona, Rachel and Kerry, working with FBU National Officials, Officials from across the UK, FBU staff and the FBU National Women’s committee established the FBU ASH group (Anti Sexual Harassment group). It is the work of this group that led the FBU to commission an anonymous climate survey that has subsequently led into the FBU Sexual Harassment Research Project, published in February 2024. 

The FBU were also successful in accessing funding from the STUC Fair Work, Leadership and Equalities Project to continue their work to eradicate discrimination within the fire and rescue service and union. 

Commenting, Roz Foyer, STUC General Secretary said, “Addressing workplace inequalities is a challenge in all workplaces and particularly in male dominated environments. It is truly inspiring to see Seona, Rachel and Kerry lead such an open process with the full support of the union leadership.” 

Commenting, Colin Brown, FBU Scotland Executive Council Member, said, “The Fire Brigades Union are incredibly proud of our Sisters and their work to deliver genuine equality policies within Fire and Rescue Services, but also in making sure that as a union we are willing to hold the mirror to ourselves and act to eradicate discrimination and harassment within our own union.

“As a movement we must continue to ensure that as workers we are equipped to and unapologetic in speaking out against those both within and those outside our movement that seek to divide us with their behaviours. 

“Receiving this award and the recognition it brings is testament to the incredible work Seona, Kerry and Rachel do within our movement. We are privileged to have them in the FBU.” 

The STUC Equality Award short film further tells the story of award recipients Rachel, Kerry and Seona. It can be viewed below:

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