'Take extra steps to reduce fire risks' residents asked as firefighters plan bank holiday strikes (From Bournemouth Echo)
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'Take extra steps to reduce fire risks' residents asked as firefighters plan bank holiday strikes
DORSET residents have been asked to “take extra steps” to reduce fire risks, following confirmation of another round of firefighter strikes set for the bank holiday weekend.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU), which has many Dorset members, announced further industrial action as part of its ongoing dispute with government over pensions.
Union members say government plans to change the pension scheme could result in many firefighters in their late 50s being sacked.
Dorset Fire & Rescue Service (DFRS) chief Darran Gunter, who stressed the issue is an national dispute, said: “As with previous strikes we will once again be putting our contingency arrangements in place.
“We are disappointed the FBU and the government has not been able to come to an agreement about the firefighters pension scheme at this stage.”
DFRS will be providing a reduced emergency response during the strikes, and 999 calls will be answered.
Dorset FBU members will be joining national colleagues for the walkouts on Friday May 2, between midday and 5pm; Saturday May 3, between 2pm and 2am; and Sunday May 4, between 10am and 3pm.
There will also be a voluntary overtime ban across England and Wales from 3pm, May 4, until noon on May 9.
Mr Gunter said: “We have put plans in place to ensure DFRS is able to respond to incidents, but we would ask members of the public to take extra steps to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out in their home.
“We will continue to work with all our partners locally to ensure businesses, homes and our environment can be kept as safe as possible from fire during the industrial action.”
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack has accused the government of “burying its head in the sand” after three years of negotiations.
He added: “Several members of government were only too keen to praise firefighters during the winter floods, but their words amount to nothing when they simultaneously ignore issues that threaten the future of firefighters and their families.
“Nevertheless, we remain totally committed to resolving the dispute through negotiation, and are ready to meet to consider a workable proposal as soon as possible.”
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