Firefighters continue strike battle

STRIKE ACTION Firefighters are unhappy with their pension deal.
STRIKE ACTION Firefighters are unhappy with their pension deal.
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Firefighters attended a fire in the open in Morley while members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) were on strike.

They were called to the incident on Monday, the final day of eight in which firefighters were on strike.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has covered this period, which has included 15 short strikes of two hours duration, using contingency crews made up of non-striking fully qualified officers and community response operatives.

During the hours of strike, which began on Monday 14 and ended on Monday 21, the brigade received a total of 193 calls and attended 95 incidents.

Many calls were duplicates to the same incident and some were of a minor nature where advice could be given.

There was no loss of life or life-threatening injuries sustained by the people of West Yorkshire.

Chief fire officer Simon Pilling said: “Delivering a contingency plan that provided a resilient fire and rescue service for West Yorkshire over the eight consecutive days of strike action has been a tremendous challenge.

“I am hugely grateful to everyone who has been part of that plan, without whom we simply would not have been able to protect the public in the way that we have.

Mr Pilling added: “I once again reiterate my plea for the Fire Brigades Union to meet with the Minister and for both to find a way to resolve this dispute.”

Firefighters are now back at work, but their dispute with the government over pensions is not over.

Until further notice FBU members are working voluntary overtime, non-contractual overtime or any additional voluntary hours.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Firefighters have solidly observed the strike action over the past eight days.

“This has not been easy for them or their families, but all firefighters are aware what is at risk here.

“Firefighters cannot accept a deal which rips up the pension promises they were given and creates an unaffordable and unworkable pension which takes no account of the real work firefighters do and the fitness requirements which go with it.

“The campaign will continue until government ministers offer an alternative, affordable and workable pension scheme.”