FIREFIGHTERS on Wearside are to strike on eight consecutive days later this month, it has been announced.
Members of the Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) will walk out at different times of the day from Monday, July 14, to Monday, July 21.
It is the latest action by the union over Government proposals about pensions.
The FBU has been in negotiations for three years in an attempt to avoid the implementation of proposals that they argue would see firefighters paying more, working longer and receiving less.
Firefighters are also due to strike on Thursday — the 15th in their campaign — alongside local government staff, teachers and civil servants, who are campaigning over a range of issues, including attacks on pay and pensions and workloads.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “The Government must realise that firefighters cannot accept proposals that would have such devastating consequences for their futures, their families’ futures — and the future of the fire and rescue service itself. We have tried every route available to us to make the Government see sense over their attacks.
“Three years of negotiations have come to nothing because the Government is simply unwilling to compromise, or even listen to reason, despite a huge amount of evidence showing their planned scheme is unworkable.
“Shorter strike periods have illustrated the strength of feeling amongst firefighters whilst limiting disruption to the fire service, the public and our members’ working lives.
“But the Government is merely ploughing ahead, forcing firefighters to react.”
Bosses at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service say that although a reduced service will be in operation during the action, incidents in which lives are at risk will be prioritised. Chief fire officer Tom Capeling said: “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 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.
“It also includes former military and specialist personnel.”
Deputy chief fire officer of Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, Stuart Errington, said: “We are disappointed that there is still no negotiated settlement to this national dispute between the FBU and Government.
“We will be following tried and tested plans to provide a professional response in the event of a fire, or other emergency, during strike action during this week from July 14.”
Strikes by FBU members will take place on the following dates and times:
•Monday, July 14: 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm.
•Tuesday, July 15: 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm.
•Wednesday, July 16: 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm.
•Thursday, July 17: 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm.
•Friday, July 18: 6am–8am and 11am–1am on Saturday July 19.
•Saturday, July 19: 11am–1pm and 11pm–1am on Sunday, July 20.
•Sunday, July 20: 7pm–9pm.
•Monday, July 21: 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm.