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Firefighters announces two strike dates
3:10pm Sunday 27th October 2013 in Local
FIREFIGHTERS across Worcestershire will stage two strikes in the run up to Bonfire Night as part of a bitter row over pensions.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) announced members will down tools between 6.30pm and 11pm on Friday, November 1 and again from 6am until 8am on Monday, November 4.
Although members of the union were due to go on strike last week, the action was called off after progress was made in talks.
But FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said on Friday the government had refused to respond correctly to the union’s concerns.
"Firefighters face the sack towards the end of their career and the loss of their pension – that can't be right,” he said.
“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.
“That is simply not the way to run a public service.”
He added the government was now threatening to withdraw some concessions made in talks earlier this year.
"Their own report shows most firefighters cannot work beyond 55 - they are trying to bludgeon firefighters into an unworkable pension scheme,” he said.
“We are not prepared to be bullied. Firefighters don't want to go on strike, but we are left with no option when the government and the employers refuse to deal with the problems of their own making."
Members of the union previously staged a four-hour strike – the first national walkout for a decade – last month.
Area commander Jon Pryce, head of operations for Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, stressed that plans are in place to provide provide a basic service and will aim to prioritise the most urgent calls ahead of other responses.
“While the industrial action is on-going we will still be responding to 999 calls, but we will be asking members of the public to take extra steps to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out in their home," he said.
“We would ask people to ensure they have working smoke alarms in their homes as this can provide them with an early warning if a fire should break out in their home."
"Above all else please remain vigilant.”
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