Fire crews’ strike passes off safely

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @Michael_Benke

A 24-hour strike by firefighters which lasted through Thursday and into yesterday morning ended without any serious incidents.

Ten Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service crews walked out during the national action in a dispute with the Government over pensions in the latest of a series of strikes stretching back to last year.

Across the county there were 20 call-outs which were handled by on-call staff although none of them were serious.

In Swindon there was a bin fire at the Orbital Retail Park, which was out when crews arrived and a number of false alarms, including one at a shop in The Parade, in the town centre.

The Fire Brigades’ Union believe the changes to pension contributions mean firefighters could lose out on up to £4,000 a year and the raising of the retirement age from 55 to 60 could leave many struggling to pass rigorous fitness tests.

The FBU is concerned that firefighters may not be able to pass the fitness tests due to injury, meaning they might subsequently be sacked and therefore be eligible for their pension until they reached retirement age.

During the strike, on-call firefighters were used and fire engines were moved to secret but more strategic, locations to make sure adequate coverage was provided.

Prior to this week’s action, Chief Fire Officer Simon Routh-Jones had asked people to take care and yesterday he thanked the public.

He said: “This was the longest strike that we’ve had to contend with but, thanks to the outstanding support of our on-call firefighters who don’t belong to the FBU, we were able to maintain a good level of cover across Wiltshire and Swindon for the full 24 hours.

“My thanks go to them, and also to our local communities for being extra vigilant and keeping safe. “I hope that the Government and the union can now find a way to resolve their differences, so that this industrial action can be brought to a close.”

The dispute has been going on for several months but the FBU have said if the Government does not start negotiations then more strikes are likely to take place.

A further strike is planned to take place during the day next Saturday but the FBU are hoping it will not come to that if the government start up talks again.

Brent Thorley, the South West Secretary, said: “The strike was well supported by our members and by the public as well.

“What we are hoping now is the government get the message that we are standing strong over this and not backing down. “There is another strike planned but if the government call us for meaningful talks then we will happily postpone because it is not something any of us want to do. “There are a number of options we have put to the government to consider but they have not come back to us with answers which is a concern.”

Next Saturday’s strike will start at 10am and last for seven hours.

Comments (10)

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8:11am Sat 14 Jun 14

stu2010 says...

Bet they we're pee'd off having to stand on a picket line instead of playing snooker and eating chips
Bet they we're pee'd off having to stand on a picket line instead of playing snooker and eating chips stu2010
  • Score: 5

10:14am Sat 14 Jun 14

stfcdod says...

Brent Thorley of the FBU says that the strike was well supported by the public. Where is he getting his information from?
In fact I haven't spoken to a single person who supports them. The FBU's attitude is that they shouldn't be part of any austerity measures because they're fireman.
Sorry chaps, you've been playing table-tennis too much.
Brent Thorley of the FBU says that the strike was well supported by the public. Where is he getting his information from? In fact I haven't spoken to a single person who supports them. The FBU's attitude is that they shouldn't be part of any austerity measures because they're fireman. Sorry chaps, you've been playing table-tennis too much. stfcdod
  • Score: 8

11:03am Sat 14 Jun 14

ChannelX says...

Seems a couple of the usual suspects who post here 'support' the firefighters, but other than that, I agree, I've not met anyone who supports the idea that they should be able to retire at 55 on a full pension while also maintaining the right to remain employed whilst proven to be unfit to properly perform the role they're being paid for.

In fact, most people I've spoken to actively oppose the union's demands.
Seems a couple of the usual suspects who post here 'support' the firefighters, but other than that, I agree, I've not met anyone who supports the idea that they should be able to retire at 55 on a full pension while also maintaining the right to remain employed whilst proven to be unfit to properly perform the role they're being paid for. In fact, most people I've spoken to actively oppose the union's demands. ChannelX
  • Score: 3

2:19pm Sat 14 Jun 14

Davey Gravey says...

Spoken to plenty of people who back them.
Spoken to plenty of people who back them. Davey Gravey
  • Score: -8

12:38am Sun 15 Jun 14

Phantom Poster says...

Davey Gravey wrote:
Spoken to plenty of people who back them.
Why? Yet again you don't explain why I as a tax payer should pay for someone's retirement at 55!

Whenever any public sector employee has a complaint (eg. teachers) then you always do exactly the same here. Never any logic behind it or explanation of where the money will come from or why every single public sector employee should be considered a special case.
[quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: Spoken to plenty of people who back them.[/p][/quote]Why? Yet again you don't explain why I as a tax payer should pay for someone's retirement at 55! Whenever any public sector employee has a complaint (eg. teachers) then you always do exactly the same here. Never any logic behind it or explanation of where the money will come from or why every single public sector employee should be considered a special case. Phantom Poster
  • Score: 9

12:00pm Sun 15 Jun 14

trolley dolley says...

Davey Gravey wrote:
Spoken to plenty of people who back them.
I bet he talks to himself a lot.
[quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: Spoken to plenty of people who back them.[/p][/quote]I bet he talks to himself a lot. trolley dolley
  • Score: 4

12:16pm Sun 15 Jun 14

Davey Gravey says...

Phantom Poster wrote:
Davey Gravey wrote:
Spoken to plenty of people who back them.
Why? Yet again you don't explain why I as a tax payer should pay for someone's retirement at 55!

Whenever any public sector employee has a complaint (eg. teachers) then you always do exactly the same here. Never any logic behind it or explanation of where the money will come from or why every single public sector employee should be considered a special case.
Tax Vodafone,Starbucks and co properly. Distribute money differently.
It's hardly going to break the bank allowing firefighters to retire at 55. They pay into it as well.they are memebers of the public too. Billions gets squandered on rubbish so why not let them retire at 55?
They devote many years to saving peoples lives and earn the right in my opinion
[quote][p][bold]Phantom Poster[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: Spoken to plenty of people who back them.[/p][/quote]Why? Yet again you don't explain why I as a tax payer should pay for someone's retirement at 55! Whenever any public sector employee has a complaint (eg. teachers) then you always do exactly the same here. Never any logic behind it or explanation of where the money will come from or why every single public sector employee should be considered a special case.[/p][/quote]Tax Vodafone,Starbucks and co properly. Distribute money differently. It's hardly going to break the bank allowing firefighters to retire at 55. They pay into it as well.they are memebers of the public too. Billions gets squandered on rubbish so why not let them retire at 55? They devote many years to saving peoples lives and earn the right in my opinion Davey Gravey
  • Score: -6

12:20pm Sun 15 Jun 14

Davey Gravey says...

trolley dolley wrote:
Davey Gravey wrote:
Spoken to plenty of people who back them.
I bet he talks to himself a lot.
Would be a more interesting chat than one with you no doubt.
For what its worth I accept opinion is divided on this issue. Some are for as much as some are against.
[quote][p][bold]trolley dolley[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: Spoken to plenty of people who back them.[/p][/quote]I bet he talks to himself a lot.[/p][/quote]Would be a more interesting chat than one with you no doubt. For what its worth I accept opinion is divided on this issue. Some are for as much as some are against. Davey Gravey
  • Score: -3

2:36pm Sun 15 Jun 14

ChannelX says...

So, the answer - as usual from the naive socialists - is to tax more and tax higher, which will only put the prices of everything up and make things even more difficult for those just trying get by as it is.

And why? So the firemen can be paid a large pension for 30 years and yet more money can be wasted on the public sector.

GREAT idea.

BTW, the companies mentioned pay every single penny of tax they owe under UK law and history has shown, conclusively, that public services rarely improve just by chucking money at them - just look at the NHS as a glaring example of what happens. Billions upon billions of additional money (OUR money) thrown at it and all that happens is they employ more and more managers to do very little but suck up that money.
So, the answer - as usual from the naive socialists - is to tax more and tax higher, which will only put the prices of everything up and make things even more difficult for those just trying get by as it is. And why? So the firemen can be paid a large pension for 30 years and yet more money can be wasted on the public sector. GREAT idea. BTW, the companies mentioned pay every single penny of tax they owe under UK law and history has shown, conclusively, that public services rarely improve just by chucking money at them - just look at the NHS as a glaring example of what happens. Billions upon billions of additional money (OUR money) thrown at it and all that happens is they employ more and more managers to do very little but suck up that money. ChannelX
  • Score: 4

12:09am Tue 17 Jun 14

Phantom Poster says...

Davey Gravey wrote:
Phantom Poster wrote:
Davey Gravey wrote:
Spoken to plenty of people who back them.
Why? Yet again you don't explain why I as a tax payer should pay for someone's retirement at 55!

Whenever any public sector employee has a complaint (eg. teachers) then you always do exactly the same here. Never any logic behind it or explanation of where the money will come from or why every single public sector employee should be considered a special case.
Tax Vodafone,Starbucks and co properly. Distribute money differently.
It's hardly going to break the bank allowing firefighters to retire at 55. They pay into it as well.they are memebers of the public too. Billions gets squandered on rubbish so why not let them retire at 55?
They devote many years to saving peoples lives and earn the right in my opinion
So you have basically demonstrated that you just don't have a clue!
[quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Phantom Poster[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: Spoken to plenty of people who back them.[/p][/quote]Why? Yet again you don't explain why I as a tax payer should pay for someone's retirement at 55! Whenever any public sector employee has a complaint (eg. teachers) then you always do exactly the same here. Never any logic behind it or explanation of where the money will come from or why every single public sector employee should be considered a special case.[/p][/quote]Tax Vodafone,Starbucks and co properly. Distribute money differently. It's hardly going to break the bank allowing firefighters to retire at 55. They pay into it as well.they are memebers of the public too. Billions gets squandered on rubbish so why not let them retire at 55? They devote many years to saving peoples lives and earn the right in my opinion[/p][/quote]So you have basically demonstrated that you just don't have a clue! Phantom Poster
  • Score: 3

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