Sunderland and Durham firefighters announce further strike

Members of the Fire Brigade Union.
Members of the Fire Brigade Union.
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SUNDERLAND and Durham firefighters are to walk out on strike again next week.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has announced further industrial action in relation to its national dispute over pensions with central Government.

The strike will take place on Wednesday November 13 2013 between 10am and 2pm.

In addition to strike action, the FBU has advised of its decision to ballot its members on the potential for action short of a strike.

Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “In the case of industrial action, the Fire Authority and I have a legal duty to provide a fire and rescue service as far as is reasonably practicable. As with all fire and rescue services, military support and the green goddesses are no longer an option to us in carrying out our duty to protect the public.

“The Service has plans in place to offer a limited response service during industrial action. These plans have been in place for a number of years and we put them into action during periods of industrial action by the FBU on 25 September, 1 November and 4 November 2013.

“They are based on a reduced number of appliances, strategically placed across Tyne and Wear according to risk and the ability to maintain the best speed of response. As ever, our appliances are available to attend incidents across the whole of Tyne and Wear and their attendance at incidents will be prioritised according to the risk to life and property.

“Trained fire service officers and staff we have recruited and trained in recent weeks will drive and staff a number of our appliances. This includes staff the Service has temporarily recruited who were successful during our last recruitment campaign process but for whom there were no vacancies at the time and recently retired firefighters. It also includes former military and specialist personnel.

“This plan is not designed to replicate the excellent service our firefighters provide every day of the week; however it is designed to provide a core operational service in the event of industrial action. We hope that talks between the two parties will continue and that the industrial action can still be avoided.

“We would like to ask the public to take extra care with fire safety during the period of strike action and to ensure they have working smoke alarms on each level of their property and that they check them. We want to ensure residents have an escape plan and that everyone in the house knows what to do in the event of a fire.

“We would encourage businesses and organisations to ensure their fire risk assessment is up to date and that their staff know what to do in the event of a fire at work. We are working with partner organisations to help promote fire safety to residents, especially amongst people who are more vulnerable to having a fire.”

The Service has information on how people and businesses can stay safe from fire on its website at www.twfire.gov.uk. Fire safety information is also available from local community fire stations or from www.facebook.com/twfrs, www.twitter.com/tyne_wear_frs.

Following the period of industrial action on 13 November, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service will operate as normal.