Strikes ‘will affect’ fire services

Fire and rescue services across our region could be severely affected if union members opt for strike action.

The Fire Brigades Union has been locked in dispute with the government over changes to firefighters’ pensions for almost two years.

A recent ballot saw overwhelming support for industrial action, with 76 per cent in favour.

Westminster imposed a deadline of 12th July to either accept the proposed changes or face them being imposed.

Gary Mitchell of the union’s East Midlands branch said: “A large number of firefighters in Notts are members, and any action will have a significant impact on the availability of appliances in the region.”

“The contingency plans involved using part-time staff and those not in a union, but the impact will be noticeable.”

Mr Mitchell added that the union felt they had no choice in going to the ballot, but would be prepared to return to negotiations.

Notts Fire and Rescue issued a statement saying: “Notts Fire and Rescue Service is aware that a ballot for strike action has been cast positively, although dates have not yet been announced.”

“The dispute itself lies between the FBU and the Government, not Notts Fire and Rescue Service and its staff.”

“However, we are doing all we can to prepare for this by ensuring plans are in place to make sure the community remains safe.”

South Yorkshire would also feel the effects of any strike, with around 660 firefighters affiliated to the FBU.

A spokesman said: “We’re disappointed by the outcome, and call on the government and the FBU to negotiate an end to the dispute to avoid strike action.”

“We have a responsibility to keep people safe and have contingency arrangements in place to enable us to provide the best emergency service we possibly can during any strike periods.”