"It's actually a pretty quiet time" - firefighters defend decision to strike in run-up to bonfire night (From Bournemouth Echo)
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"It's actually a pretty quiet time" - firefighters defend decision to strike in run-up to bonfire night
DORSET firefighters have defended their decision to strike twice in the run-up to bonfire night, claiming “it’s actually a pretty quiet time.”
Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) are set to support the strike after pension deal negotiations stalled last week.
The FBU called off a planned walkout earlier this month after it appeared some progress had been made in the row.
However, Dorset Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS) firefighter and FBU South West secretary Karen Adams, told the Daily Echo that no offer had been forthcoming.
“We met on Friday and we’ve been told we’ve been offered absolutely nothing,” she said.
“So this latest action will go ahead.”
Dorset FBU members are due to walkout on Friday from 6.30pm-11pm and on Monday from 6am-8am.
Defending the timing of the strike, Ms Adams added: “You look at our statistics and you’ll find we get hardly any calls over the firework period.
“It’s actually a pretty quiet time. Most people tend to go to organised displays on the Saturday.”
Dorset fire chief Darran Gunter insisted DFRS would be responding to 999 calls, but asked members of the public to take “extra care to reduce the risk of fire breaking out”.
Members of the public have been urged to only attend properly organised bonfire night events.
The FBU is angry with the government’s offer to only release full pensions when firefighters reach the age of 60. Union members argue this is too old to be fighting fires.
Meanwhile, the government insists firefighters enjoy one of the best public pension packages in the country.
On the latest development, Fire Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Talks were progressing encouragingly and in good faith so for the FBU to walk away after only four days of negotiation is completely baffling.”
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