Norfolk firefighters begin six-hour New Year’s Eve strike; public urged to be vigilant

Firefighters at Sprowston joining the national strike earlier this year. Photo: Bill Smith Firefighters at Sprowston joining the national strike earlier this year. Photo: Bill Smith

Tuesday, December 31, 2013
6:31 PM

A six-hour firefighter strike which will run for part of tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebrations has got underway.

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Members of the public have been urged to be vigilant and take extra care during tonight’s celebrations.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) announced that its members will strike from 6.30pm until 12.30am tomorrow, due to a dispute between the government and the FBU over changes to the national pension scheme.

While the fire service will continue to operate a 999 response service during all of the periods of strike action, calls will be prioritised as they come in if necessary and it is hoped that the public will continue to assist them by placing extra emphasis on their own safety.

During the periods of industrial action in which firefighters are striking there will be reduced levels of cover and around half of fire stations will be closed temporarily.

Nigel Williams, chief fire officer at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We have been carefully planning since we were made aware of the latest strike dates in order to deal with incidents in the best way possible.

“We know that the industrial action will put extra demand on the Service so I would urge members of the public to be extra vigilant and take all necessary precautions especially at a time when traditionally people have more candles lit in the home and more cooking takes place.”

Dan Roper, Cabinet Member for Public Protection at Norfolk County Council, said: “It is disappointing that more dates for industrial action have been announced and especially over the festive period.

“Although there will be fewer officers and engines at our disposal I know the Fire and Rescue Service has worked hard to formulate contingency plans to keep Norfolk as safe as possible.”

A further strike is set to take place on Friday, January 3.

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