Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service attended calls despite weekend strike action

Firefighters on strike at the Trowse fire station yesterday. Photo by Simon Finlay. Firefighters on strike at the Trowse fire station yesterday. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Sunday, May 4, 2014
10:50 PM

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said there was “no compromise in the weight of our response” to calls attended over the weekend despite a series of strikes taking place.

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Firefighters in the county joined colleagues from across England and Wales in walk-outs on Friday, between noon and 5pm, Saturday, from 2pm to 2am and yesterday 10am until 3pm, as part of a dispute over pensions.

The brigade attended five out of six calls it received during the strike on Friday, 11 out of 13 yesterday and five out of seven today (Sunday).

David Ashworth, head of operations at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We experienced predicted levels of activity during the times of the strikes this weekend. There was no compromise in the weight of our response at any of the calls that we attended.”

Despite the action, Nigel Williams, chief fire officer, said they would “continue to operate the best service we possibly can” and would operate a 999 response service during all of the strike periods.

The FBU is protesting that firefighters face having to pay higher pension contributions, work into their late 50s before retiring and could be sacked because their fitness declines as they get older.

But a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “It was the union executive’s decision to call this strike that effectively ended its discussions with the government.”

He added: “The government is clear that further change can be made through constructive engagement, but not under the shadow of industrial action, which only serves to damage firefighters’ standing with the public.”

In Scotland there will be a ban on voluntary overtime from noon yesterday until May 9.

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