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Firefighters to strike over Christmas and New Year in pensions row

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Firefighters will strike over Christmas and New Year in the continuing row with the Government over changes to pensions.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will strike on Christmas Eve from 7pm to midnight, on New Year’s Eve from 6.30pm to 12.30am, and on Friday, January 3, from 6.30am to 8.30am.

Six previous firefighter strikes have been held since September.

FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack said: “Firefighters provide a first-class standard of service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and these strikes will remind government just how reliant they are on our members’ professionalism, commitment and flexibility.

“However, there should be no need for industrial action, and it’s absurd that firefighters’ concerns over pensions have not been addressed already.

“The government must stop claiming they are negotiating when they have refused to talk for two months and insist on forcing through proposals that are unaffordable, unworkable and unfair.

“By simply conceding common sense and allowing firefighters a fair deal, the government could end this industrial action today.”

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) said back-up plans were in place, but that these would not match the service’s normal cover.

Chris Strickland, Deputy Chief Fire Officer at CFRS, said: “This latest industrial action has been called at a time when people will want to be at home with their families and this may impact on our ability to find enough suitable staff to provide an effective operational response.

“We will know in the coming days what effect the timing of the strikes will have on the level of service we can provide to the community in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and, as with all the previous strikes, we will endeavour to provide the best service we can.

“At Christmas time we are always encouraging people to put fire safety at the forefront of their minds. Now, at this time of industrial action, we will be urging Cambridgeshire residents to take even more care with things like candles around the home, ensuring decorative lights are safe, and of course, taking extra with cooking and smoking especially when drinking alcohol.”

Visit www.cambsfire.gov.uk or www.suffolk.gov.uk for fire safety advice.

 

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