We have no option but to strike, say Cumbria's firefighters
Last updated at 12:27, Wednesday, 18 September 2013
Cumbrian firefighters say they have been left with no option but to join their national colleagues in striking.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) yesterday announced its decision to hold industrial action between midday and 4pm next Wednesday. It is in response to a dispute with the Government over proposed changes to firefighter pensions.
The county’s fire crews have told the News & Star that they too will be joining in, as fire chiefs urge the public to help keep themselves safe.
Les Skarratts, FBU regional secretary for Cumbria, said: “It is an absolute disgrace it has come to this, but Cumbria firefighters are left with no alternative but to take this strike action to defend their pensions.
“The Government have decided to increase our working life for all firefighters until we are 60 years old. I am sure the people of Cumbria agree with us that to have 60- year-old firefighters climbing ladders to save families from fires is simply dangerous.”
He added: “We are angry that the Government seems to want conflict rather than negotiate a settlement and I firmly believe the communities we serve share our anger.”
The strike means Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) will be operating a reduced emergency response, and it has called on residents to avoid making unnecessary calls.
While 999 calls will continue to be answered as normal, incidents where life is considered to be in danger will be prioritised.
A spokesman for the service said that while it will try to attend all emergency calls, there will be occasions when life is not considered to be at immediate risk – such as calls to small fires and automatic fire alarms – where they may be a reduced or even no response. Cumbria’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer Ian Cartwright said: “We have been working on putting contingency plans in place for some time in order to maintain fire and rescue service capability during any strikes, but we’re also asking the people of Cumbria to help us out by taking extra fire safety steps to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out in their home.”
“Fires can start for a variety of reasons – the best advice we can give is for everyone to ensure they have a smoke alarm in their home and to check the battery is working at least once a week.”
More than 50 per cent of accidental house fires attended by Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service start in the kitchen, so people are asked to take particular care when cooking.
To enable CFRS to deal with the most important emergency calls, residents are being urged to avoid making 999 calls unless it is absolutely necessary.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Cartwright added: “Our highest priority during industrial action will be to respond to those crucial calls where a life may be at risk or someone needs to be rescued. If we respond to low priority calls then those most in need could be at risk. A low priority call could be to someone who is locked outside their house or where debris has fallen in the road.”
First published at 12:25, Wednesday, 18 September 2013
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
Get on with it you spoiled people,think about the 67 year old,roofers,brickies,steel electors,mechanics etc etc ,having to work heavey and physical jobs with no decent pensions,most of the time firemen are sitting about waiting,then they stand and watch a lot of buildings burn due to health and safety rules
Why do people think this dispute is about money? Is it because that is what motivates YOU? (certain commentors in particular). Help yourself to a second or third job if you wish to it's not illegal, nor is it part of this dispute! It's about being ripped off by governmental politicians reforming a working pension scheme for something a damn site worse and FORCING those paying into it to pay MORE and get LESS. The same politicians who are lining their own pension pots through pay rises and of course the real prospect of being sacked under the capability issues as explained in other posts. Let me put it in a different context to help. Imagine a 60 year old Street Police Officer (male or female) chasing down a 20 year old felon and with another 60 year old Officer as back up? With the greatest respect to the Police, there's only one way that story will end. I suggest you have a taste of how demanding the firefighting job can be and then see if:
a) You could do it at 60
b) You would want firefighters of that age coming to rescue YOU?
Get your facts right about WHY firefighters are striking before making ill-informed and insulting comments on here about some of the finest people on the planet who work hard to make sure YOU are safe in YOUR life...
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