Sunday, July 21, 2024

Firefighters strike across the borough

FIREFIGHTERS in Essex are due to start strike action later in a row over working conditions and staffing levels.

The walk-out, from 10:00 to 18:00 BST, is the first of five planned over the next four months.

Union officials said the action followed a reduction in front-line firefighter numbers and other changes.

Essex fire and rescue said it had made contingency plans and would have 35 fire appliances available at 29 locations around the county reports the BBC.

Alan Chinn-Shaw, chairman of the Fire Brigade Union’s Essex branch, said: “This is about cuts to front-line firefighters and changes imposed on firefighters.

“We’ve had enough and the cuts are now directly impacting on public and firefighter safety.

“The recent highly provocative removal of key fire engines and vital rescue equipment contradicts the fire authority claim that it is being reasonable.”

The union claims Essex will have lost one-in-five front-line firefighters since 2008 if planned cuts go ahead.

Chief Fire Officer David Johnson, of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, said he was disappointed assurances given to the union had not averted the strike.

But he said “excellent contingency arrangements” had been put in place.

“There will be more fire appliances on the run than were available in the whole of London during their recent strikes,” he said.

Essex firefighters voted by 2-1 in favour of strikes following almost three years of action short of a strike.

Further walk-outs are planned for 7 and 18 July, 18 August and 18 October.

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