08:00 Tuesday 17 December 2013

Firefighters to strike on Christmas and New Year's Eve

Written byROB SMYTH

25/09/13 Fire strikes - Burton and swad fire station, Burton, SwadlincoteFire Brigade Strikes - Swadlincote 25/09/13 Fire strikes - Burton and swad fire station, Burton, SwadlincoteFire Brigade Strikes - Swadlincote

FIREFIGHTERS will down tools on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve as the row over pensions and work changes continues to escalate.

Crews from Burton, Barton under Needwood, Tutbury, Swadlincote and Melbourne will lay down their hoses and head behind the picket lines on some of the busiest days of the year in a bid to force the Government to rethink proposals which would see them work until they are 60 to get their full pension.

The announcement of the latest industrial action comes just days after fire crews in South Derbyshire took the decision to leave the picket line following a potentially life-threatening crash in Midway, which came during strikes on Friday.

Fire Brigades Union 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 the 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.

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

Firefighters will strike from:

l7pm to midnight on Tuesday, December 24;

l6.30pm on Tuesday, December 31 to 12.30am on Wednesday, January 1; and

l6.30am to 8.30am on Friday, January 3.

Despite requests for a comment, fire and rescue services in Staffordshire and Derbyshire would said they would issue a statement today.

On top of these strike periods — the seventh, eighth and ninth to take place — on Christmas Eve all members working in control centres will refuse to work voluntary overtime.

And between 7pm on Friday, December 27 and 7pm on Sunday, December 29, firefighters across England, Scotland and Wales except those working in control will refuse to work voluntary overtime.

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