Fire services brace for two days of strike action

Gazette Series: Fire services brace for two days of strike action Fire services brace for two days of strike action

HOMEOWNERS and businesses are being urged to check their fire safety measures ahead of the first of two national strikes by firefighters which start tomorrow.

In an on-going dispute with the Government over pensions, Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) members will stage a four-hour walkout on Friday, December 13 from 6pm to 10pm.

This will be followed by a second four-hour period of action on Saturday, December 14 from 6pm to 10pm.

During the strikes, a skeleton service will operate from six strategic locations across the Avon Fire and Rescue Service area.

Fire cover will be provided in the main by firefighters who are not part of the FBU. They will work alongside a small number of auxiliary firefighters who have received training to provide basic support to fully qualified crews.

Due to the reduced emergency service members of the public are advised to expect longer response times as calls will be prioritised towards those where there is a risk to life.

Chief Fire Officer Kevin Pearson said: “Although we have resilience plans in place during the strike, they are not a direct replacement for the service we normally provide.

“I would urge everyone to make every effort to reduce the risk of a fire starting in their home or business as we may take longer to reach you. Simple things like ensuring you do not leave cooking unattended, making sure you check smoke alarms are working and rehearsing escape routes with your family will certainly help you stay safer.”

More advice and information is available from www.avonfire.gov.uk The industrial action will be the fifth and sixth strikes since the end of September.

General secretary Matt Wrack said: “This further action is entirely the responsibility of central government.

“The government is ignoring our member’s concerns about increasing contributions which will mean most firefighters paying more than £4,000 a year towards their pensions. At 14.2% of pay this is one of the most expensive pension schemes for workers anywhere in the UK.

“By forcing thousands of firefighters into a new and worse pension scheme, the government is also refusing to honour the pension agreement they made with firefighters on joining the fire service. Our members have paid their share and expect the government to deliver the pension we signed up to.”

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