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Firefighters down tools as part of industrial action
11:30am Thursday 26th September 2013 in News
FIREFIGHTERS downed tools yesterday afternoon as part of a growing row over pensions.
As the clock struck noon, firefighters from Redditch and Bromsgrove formed picket lines and went on strike for four hours.
During that time fire crews were called out twice - once to a road traffic collision in Droitwich and to a small fire in in the centre of Worcester, which was out before crews arrived.
They were attended by non-striking firefighters.
The industrial action was called by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and was mirrored across the country.
The union is campaigning against changes it says will mean firefighters will have to work longer, pay more into their pensions and receive less in retirement.
The move will also see firefighters having to work on frontline duties until they are 60, the union says.
Julian Jenkins, chair of the FBU, said that all the wholetime stations in Herefordshire and Worcestershire went on strike.
“I think people understand where we are coming from," he said.
“We’ve been talking to the government for two years but can’t get through to them. That is why we’re in this sorry state.
He added that if there had been a major incident during the four hours then firefighters would have returned to work.
Earlier this week Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) urged residents to reduce the risk of fire breaking out in their home during the strike.
“While the industrial action is ongoing we will still be responding to 999 calls, but we are asking members of the public to take extra steps to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out in their home,” said Area Commander Jon Pryce, Head of Operations for HWFRS.
The strike was the first by firefighters for more than a decade.
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