Firefighters across Norfolk to walk out in fresh strike action
PUBLISHED: 17:14 08 August 2014
Firefighters across Norfolk are set to walk out in a series of strikes starting from tomorrow.
Contingency plans are in place ahead of the industrial action by members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
The action, which involves some of Norfolk’s firefighters, is taking place due to a national dispute between the government and the FBU over changes to the pension scheme.
Emergency fire calls will continue to be answered in the county, but 999 calls may be prioritised and responses may be tailored to match operational demand.
The strike action is taking place every day from tomorrow until Saturday, August 16 from midday until 2pm and from 10.59pm until 11.59pm hrs each day.
During the periods of industrial action, there will be reduced levels of cover and around half of fire stations will be closed temporarily.
Norfolk’s Chief Fire Officer Nigel Williams is appealing for people to be vigilant about fire safety during strike action.
He said: “This time of year is usually a busy period for us as the warm, dry weather normally coincides with a higher number of fires out in the open.
“Also, during the summer holidays more people are likely to be out on the roads and I would also urge people to avoid swimming in open water, lakes and rivers.
“And with some heavy rain forecast I recommend that people take extra care around any floodwater.
“Therefore, I would ask people to be extra vigilant during the strike periods as we have fewer firefighters available to deal with incidents.
“However, I would like to reassure Norfolk’s residents that we have once again been working hard to ensure we have cover across the county and are as prepared as possible to deal with as many incidents as we can. We will prioritise the calls as they come in and we will do our best to protect the people of Norfolk.”
Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee has recently written to the Fire Minister, Penny Mordaunt MP.
Chairman of the committee councillor Paul Smyth said: “The county council is the fire authority for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service and is therefore very keen to see this ongoing dispute resolved.
“In the letter the committee acknowledged how well the service had weathered previous strikes but noted the additional pressure prolonged industrial action places on the service as a whole, the effect it may have on those individuals affected by the issues at the heart of the dispute, and the inevitable impact it has on operational readiness and service delivery.
“It urged all parties involved to reach a timely and amicable resolution of this unfortunate dispute.”