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Firefighters to strike over festive period
FIREFIGHTERS were called out to a number of incidents in Wiltshire during strike action over the weekend.
The Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) organised the strike action from 6pm to 10pm on Friday and Saturday as part of its on-going national dispute with the Government over pension reforms.
During the strike, Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service firefighters were called to a significant fire involving a thatched property near Pewsey on Saturday night. In the initial stages of the fire, half of the service’s 16 available appliances were sent to the scene, and the remaining fire engines were moved around to ensure fire cover elsewhere in the county.
Crews also attended three false alarms in Tidworth, Swindon and Pewsey, and a small fire in Purton, Swindon on Friday.
Crews at ten of Wiltshire’s 24 fire stations were unavailable to respond to incidents during the strike, but the service had contingency plans in place to maintain cover across the county using on-call firefighters and alternative locations.
There were 12 appliances available ‘on station’ with a further six on call.
Chief Fire Officer Simon Routh-Jones said: “I was pleased that our contingency plans worked well over the course of the evening, and we were able to maintain fire cover across the four hours. However, we cannot become complacent, and we know that continued industrial action will undoubtedly have an impact on the service we provide to local communities.”
The row is over Government plans to raise firefighters' retirement age from 55 to 60 and increase their pension contributions.
• More action is planned for Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and January 3. Union members in England and Wales will walk out for five hours from 7pm on December 24, six hours from 6.30pm on December 31 and two hours from 6.30am on January 3.
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