Councillor attacks firefighters’ strike
FIREFIGHTERS have decided to take strike action on Monday – but the move has come under attack from a leading county councillor. The decision comes after Herts County Council accepted proposals in the county s fire service s community plans for cuts. The
FIREFIGHTERS have decided to take strike action on Monday - but the move has come under attack from a leading county councillor.
The decision comes after Herts County Council accepted proposals in the county's fire service's community plans for cuts.
The changes are estimated to save £50,000, but it will mean the loss of two full-time positions at Royston Fire Station with retained cover only being provided during the day at weekends.
As a result the Fire Brigades' Union said it had no choice but to ballot its 700 members across Herts over the strike action and 85.4 per cent agreed to take action.
The strike will take place on Monday and next Saturday from 2pm to 10pm.
A spokesman from the Fire Brigade's Union said: "We are concerned there won't be enough cover, but we have given our employers plenty of notice and done everything legally required.
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"At the end of the day it is the county council's responsibility to provide cover if this happens.
"It will, however, be the hardest thing we have ever done, but if we don't take action now we will be less safe permanently.
"No-one is pleased with the outcome but the integrated risk management plan is not going to work.
"We have put our case forward time and again and we have been ignored.
"We can't see that there's another way so our objective is to make the county council think again."
County Councillor David Lloyd, executive member for community safety said he was outraged by the strike call.
"We have tried to be reasonable and we're still willing to keep talking," he said.
"I can't believe ordinary FBU members will want to turn their backs on negotiations and put people at risk.
"It's not too late to sort this out. We want to continue the talks. We have agreed not to implement the changes while they take place and want the FBU to suspend the strike to enable the talks to continue.
"A strike would put everyone in danger and we can sort out our differences without going down that road."
Chief fire officer Roy Wilsher warned two weeks ago that there will be no support from the military to deal with emergencies during a strike.
"There will be no back-up, just a limited number of front-line staff deployed according to need."
He added: "We have been open and honest about our plans from the start of our consultation.
" Our community safety plan will not compromise safety - strike action will.