Firefighters strike for the fourth time over pensions row

North East firefighters staged a fresh strike in a row with the Government over pensions and were said to be “digging in for the long haul”

Tim McGuinness Striking firefighters at Gateshead fire station
Striking firefighters at Gateshead fire station

Yesterday members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) walked out for four hours at 10am - the fourth stoppage in recent weeks.

The FBU has argued that firefighters are likely to experience a decline in fitness in their 50s and fear being finished work on fitness grounds which would leave them without a pension.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack, said: “We are disappointed to be taking a fourth round of action, but the strike will be solidly supported again across the country.

“The Government has worsened its proposals which has only hardened attitudes among firefighters. We are determined to dig in for the long haul.”

Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Over the last few weeks the service has been encouraging the public and business owners to take extra care with fire safety during the period of strike action.

“During the strike period we received 12 calls and our emergency crews attended eight incidents.”

He added: “I would like to thank the public for their support in taking on board the safety messages we have been putting out. We hope that talks between the two parties will continue and that any further industrial action can be avoided.”

The strike came at a time as a further ballot for other forms of industrial action was announced and this will close on Wednesday, December 4.

During this four hour period of strike action, Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service dealt with three incidents, including the ongoing incident following a huge fire at a Chinese take-away restaurant in Front Street, Stanley, which began on Monday.

Stuart Errington, deputy chief fire officer for County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Our resilience plans worked well and we were able to provide people in County Durham and Darlington with a professional response.”

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