FIREFIGHTERS have returned to their posts following their ninth strike over pensions.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union held a walk out between 6.30am and 8.30am today as part of a national dispute with central Government.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s operational response service says it has returned to normal.
During the strike period the service received one call and attended a road traffic collision involving two cars on the A19 near Doxford Park.
The service’s Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling 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 put its plans in place to provide a limited response service during this and the previous strikes.
“Trained fire service officers and staff recruited and trained in recent months drove and staffed the appliances to provide our reduced response.
“This included staff the service has temporarily recruited who were successful during our last recruitment process but for whom there were no vacancies at the time.
“It also included former military and specialist personnel and recently retired firefighters.
“This plan is not designed to replicate the excellent service our firefighters provide every day of the week, however it was aimed at providing a core response service in the event of industrial action.
“Over the last few months the service has been encouraging the public and business owners to take extra care with fire safety during the period of strike action.
“I am pleased to say that this appears to have had an impact and the number of incidents we have dealt with reflect the normal picture for this time of year.”
Tom continued: “I would like to thank the public for their support in taking on board the safety messages we have been putting out.
“We hope that talks between the two parties will continue and that any further industrial action can be avoided.”