Firefighters set to stage fresh strikes

FIREFIGHTERS are to stage fresh strikes in their bitter dispute with the Government over pensions.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will be taking part in industrial action for four hours on Friday, December 13 from 6 to 10pm and again on Saturday, December 14 from 6 to 10pm.

The strikes, the fourth time this has happened, comes as the union accused the Government of ignoring concerns about increasing contributions which will lead to firefighters paying thousands of pounds more into their pensions.

The union also fears firefighters face losing their jobs if they fail fitness tests as their pension age is increased to 60.

A spokesman from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said that this was obviously a serious situation both for the service and for all individuals concerned and the service hopes that there will be continued dialogue between the union and Government over the coming days to prevent strike action taking place.

The recent ballot result, which provided the FBU with a mandate to take industrial action, affects all operational staff who are members of the FBU and are eligible to join a Firefighters Pension Scheme.

It does not affect control room staff (emergency call handlers) or support staff.

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service has a statutory duty to plan for industrial action in order to maintain an operational response capability.

If strike action takes place on these dates it will result in a significant reduction of the service’s available resources.

However, plans are in place to continue to provide appropriate emergency fire cover.

This reduced fire cover is likely to provide a basic service and will aim to prioritise the most urgent calls ahead of other responses.

Area commander Jon Pryce, head of operations for Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, said: “While the industrial action is on-going we will still be responding to 999 calls, but we will be asking members of the public to take extra steps to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out in their home.

“We would ask people to ensure they have working smoke alarms in their homes as this can provide them with an early warning if a fire should break out in their home. Above all else please remain vigilant.”


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