'Take care plea' as firefighters to strike again
Published: 29 Oct 2013 17:300 comments
They will stage the walkout from 6.30-11pm on Fri-day and 6-8am on Monday.
The Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) is in a national dispute with the Government over changes to pensions and working arrangements.
The Government wants to move the retirement age for firefighters from 55 to 60 but the union fears many older staff will be made redundant because they will not be declared fit enough for service.
Matt Wrack, the FBU general secretary, said: “The FBU has been very reasonable but we are now faced with broken promises and those in power evading their responsibilities. Firefighters face the sack towards the end of their career and the loss of their pension. That can’t be right. The employers promised to tackle the issue of firefighters facing the sack for failing fitness tests last week, only to say they can’t offer any guarantees this week.”
The FBU held a four-hour strike last month and postponed a walkout which had been due to be held on October 19, pending talks with the Government.
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) has contingency arrangements during the strikes.
Olaf Baars, deputy chief fire officer for the RBFRS, said: “Once again, we are urging people to take extra care during these periods. As before, we will be answering emergency calls and responding to life-risk incidents during these periods of industrial action but we are asking people to help by calling us only in a genuine emergency. Please only consider calling 999 if there is a genuine need for a fire engine, as we will prioritise calls where a life may be at risk or someone needs to be rescued.
“Our continuity arrangements will operate during the strike action but this will affect our usual response times.
“As the strike dates occur around Halloween and Bonfire Night, we are asking members of the public to be especially careful if they are planning to celebrate these occasions – our advice is to attend an organised display or event.
“We’d also like people to be especially aware of fire safety precautions at home and in their businesses, and when out and about on the roads.”