Firefighters in Preston are preparing to join a national walkout over pension reforms.Advertisement
Members of the Fire Brigades Union are to strike during some of the busiest nights of the year.
Firew crews will walk out from 6pm on Friday 31 October and continue their strike until 6pm on Tuesday 4 November.
The run up to Bonfire Night is a busy time for the fire service but bosses insist enough cover will be provided.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, Chris Kenny said: “This is a national dispute between the FBU and Government and is not a dispute between Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) and our firefighters.
“We do have a significant number of our staff who have given a commitment to maintain emergency cover and as a result the public can be reassured that the Service plan to keep fire engines in Lancashire operational during the dispute period. We would urge all members of the public to be extra vigilant however and be aware that for minor fires in particular, there may be a longer wait for a fire engine. I ask the public to take extra care to prevent a fire happening and encourage them to access the website we have set up to offer advice on how to do that at www.takeextracare.com.
“The focus for the Service in the short term will be on providing the best service possible with the resources available. In the longer term the challenge will be in bringing our workforce together after the dispute to re-establish the most professional service possible.”
“Even at this late stage I sincerely hope that Government and FBU will soon arrive at a negotiated settlement and we have written to the Government to urge progress.”
Fire Minister, Penny Mordaunt said: “This strike action is completely unnecessary and we are disappointed by the FBU’s decision.
“In the last few months when industrial action has not taken place we have made good progress on issues of concern to fire fighters, and anticipate being able to lay the pension regulations shortly. Firefighters will have one of the most generous pensions in the public sector in recognition of the risks they take.
“During industrial action public safety will remain our primary focus and we have tried and tested contingency plans in place. If they need help, people should dial 999 and they will get a response.”
What do you think? Do you back the strike? Let us know in the comments below