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Firefighter strike comes to an end
4:44pm Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
FIREFIGHTERS downed tools for four hours this afternoon as part of a growing row over pensions.
As the clock struck 12pm, almost 20 firefighters formed a picket line at Worcester Fire Station’s Copenhagen Street base.
During the four hours, firefighters were called out to two ‘shouts’; a road traffic collision in Droitwich and a small fire in a light fitting 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 argues.
“All the wholetime stations in Herefordshire and Worcestershire have come out on strike,” said Julian Jenkins, chair of the Fire Brigades’ Union in the two counties.
“I think people understand where we are coming from.
“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.
“It has been agreed that if there’s a major incident during these four hours then they’ll return to work.
“The brigade is legally obliged to provide cover at all times.”
The Worcester firefighters received support from many motorists driving along Deansway who sounded their horn as they passed.
Earlier this week, Hereford and Worcester Fire & 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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