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Pilots and Firefighters join forces for groundbreaking training collaboration

Members of The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) have today completed a new, innovative and first of its kind training collaboration, which paves the way for future training co-operation between unions.

For the first time ever, union reps from the two safety critical fields of aviation and firefighting came together to share experiences and learn new skills that will enable them to help union members tackle health and safety issues in the workplace.

The 5-day course saw 20 pilots and firefighters build towards an accredited Level 2 certification in Health and Safety and plan out ways of delivering the very best health and safety representation for their members.

BALPA’s Head of Membership and Career Services Wendy Pursey said:
“Aiding reps to tackle Health and Safety issues in the workplace is a vital part of union work and we at BALPA are delighted to share our classroom with the FBU to give reps from both unions enhanced skills in this area.  The high-quality training provided via CONEL College has been exceptional whilst providing our representatives with a very rewarding experience.  This is the first time we have collaborated in this way and it certainly shows that Unions learning together makes us stronger.”

Simon, an FBU rep, said:
“This course opens your eyes to the problems in other workplaces and provides a great introduction and framework to Health and Safety in the workplace. I’d encourage anyone interested in Health and Safety to get on board, it’s a relaxed environment with everything open to discussion with no wrong answers. You don’t have to be an expert in Health and Safety to attend.”

James, airline Captain and BALPA rep said:
“This course has given me a great background knowledge in Health and Safety and I’ll be able to act with more conviction in dealing with management, including around relevant legislation and the TUC’s Brown Book. In the private sector the financial element is more pressing than in the public sector, which makes the working conduct and relationship with management crucial. You’re there to help everyone and a collaborative relationship is the best outcome, benefitting employers as well as improving Health and Safety.”

Gareth Beeton, Health and Safety Co-ordinator for FBU London Region said:
“All sectors are under pressure after Covid and due to changes in legislation, so it’s great to get multiple occupations and unions together to gain a broader knowledge of Health and Safety in the workplace. Similarities in the issues and problems being faced between different sectors aren’t unheard of. For example, there are similarities between the campaign we are running on decontamination and cleaning of firefighters and their equipment, and BALPA’s cockpit air quality campaign.”


Notes to EDITORS
For pictures or more information about the training, or to interview Wendy Pursey or delegates, please email communications@balpa.org.