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Calls fall ‘dramatically’ during firefighter strikes

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: June 14, 2014

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THE number of calls to Staffordshire Fire and Rescue service fell ‘dramatically’ during the 24-hour strike, it has said.

Concerns were raised by the FBU beforehand that contingency plans that had been put in place to deal with emergencies would not be suitable to deal with serious emergencies should crews be called out to attend.

However yesterday the service confirmed that it received reports of 30 incidents across the county while regular firefighters took industrial action. It noted that this was a significant drop in the number recorded during the same period in 2012 and 2013, when crews responded to 45 incidents across the county.

Following the end of the strikes, chief fire officer Peter Dartford thanked both residents and motorists in East Staffordshire for taking extra care during the longest strike to be held since the row over changes to firefighters’ pensions started three years ago.

He said: “The significant reduction in the number of reported incidents, compared to the same time period over the previous two years, is testament to the people of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

@The community has clearly listened to and acted upon our safety warnings.

“I would like to thank everyone for taking extra care at a time when our resources were stretched during the first 24-hour strike in this dispute between the FBU and the government. “

The service confirmed that 29 of the calls it received were minor incidents, with two crews attending the only major incident to be reported - a road traffic collision in Stoke-on-Trent - where four people were cut from two vehicles following a road traffic collision on Thursday evening.

The latest round of industrial action was the eighth to be held by firefighters since the dispute over changes to their pensions and working conditions began.

The government has proposed increasing the retirement age from 55 to 60, as well as asking firefighters to contribute more to their pension each year. An FBU spokesman told the Mail that this would equate to around £4,000 per year from an average salary of £29,000.

A further strike is also planned from 10am until 5pm on June 21 if the situation remains unresolved, with further contingency measures set to be put in place to deal with emergencies.

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