July 25 2014 Latest news:
Friday, April 25, 2014
Firefighters in Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire will strike three times next week as a dispute with the Government over pensions continues.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has announced its members will stop work between midday and 5pm on Friday, May 2, 6.30am and 8.30am.
Further strikes are also planned on Saturday, May 3, from 2pm and 2am, and Sunday, May 4, between 10am and 3pm, as well as a ban on voluntary overtime from 3pm on Sunday, May 4, until midday on Friday, May 9.
Crews have already walked out nine times since September last year with the FBU deciding to take further industrial action after the Government failed to put forward any new proposals regarding changes to firefighters’ pension schemes before yesterday’s (Thursday) deadline.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “After three years of negotiations and an intense four months presenting an indisputable, evidence-based case for the need to ensure a pension scheme that takes into account the unique occupation of firefighting, the government is still burying its head in the sand.
“Several members of government were only too keen to praise firefighters during the winter floods, but their words amount to nothing when they simultaneously ignore issues that threaten the future of firefighters and their families.
“Nevertheless, we remain totally committed to resolving the dispute through negotiation, and are ready to meet to consider a workable proposal as soon as possible.”
Roy Wilsher, director of community protection at Hertfordshire County Council and chief fire officer, said: “We are extremely disappointed that the FBU has announced more strikes. It’s hard to see how this is going to help resolve their dispute with the Government.
“This repeated strike action in a key public service is ill-conceived and the safety of the people of Hertfordshire should not be used as a bargaining tool.
“Our contingency arrangements have stood up well during previous strike action, however with fewer resources our ability to respond to incidents is reduced, therefore I urge the public to play their part again and take extra care during the strike action.
“We will be responding as quickly as possible to serious incidents. In the event of a fire you should still get out, stay out, and call 999 – you will get an emergency response.
“We continue to hope that the government and FBU can resolve their dispute and that further walkouts can be avoided.”