PEOPLE in Warwickshire have been asked to take extra care this Saturday evening when firefighters stage their second strike in an ongoing dispute with the government over proposed changes to pensions.
The strike, by members of the Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) in England and Wales, will last five hours, from 6.30pm to 11.30pm.
Warwickshire’s chief fire officer, Andy Hickmott, said: “We had hoped that this national dispute would be resolved swiftly and that further strike action could be avoided.
“This second strike will be held on a Saturday evening when people may be relaxing at home or out visiting friends so we want the public to be extra vigilant over safety in the home and on the roads.”
Mr Hickmott added: “We will be taking 999 calls during the strike but we won’t be able to respond to all requests as we anticipate a reduced level of cover. We have run a number of exercises to test our contingency planning to prepare for the strike.
“Our focus will be to prioritise calls where a life may be at risk or if someone needs to be rescued, our response must be to those most in need of our assistance.
“We would ask people to make 999 calls wisely so that only emergency calls are made but if in doubt then they must not hesitate to still call 999.
“We want the public to take extra care and have put safety information out. This can be viewed on our website at www.warwick shire.gov.uk/fireandrescue”
Marcus Giles, secretary of the Warwickshire branch of the FBU, told the Herald this week: “The FBU are willing to talk, but unfortunately the government aren’t willing to, and we’ve been forced into this position again.”
Mr Giles said the firefighters did not want to strike. All they wanted was to be given what they’d originally signed up to.
“It’s like taking out a mortgage and, ten years from the final payment, being told you’ve got to pay more for longer,” he said. “It’s the same with our pensions.”
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