Firefighters praised for 'professionalism' during strike
FIREFIGHTERS across the county have been praised for their professionalism and diligence during Wednesday's four-hour national fire strike.
The strike, the first national walk out since 2003, was a result of proposals for changes to firefighters pensions which have been rejected by firefighters across England and Wales.
Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service had contingency plans in place which meant that significant resources were available, with 26 out of the normal 33 fire engines ready to respond to emergencies.
There were only a handful of emergency calls to the control room in the four-hour strike period.
Chief Fire Officer Jon Hall said: “I’m pleased that the firefighters who were on duty today displayed great flexibility and professionalism to ensure that an effective service was provided for the people of Gloucestershire.
“This was a dispute between the Government and the Fire Brigades Union and therefore out of our hands as a service, but I am pleased that so many people in the county did their bit to remain safe during this short period of industrial action.”
David Drew, the Stroud Labour Party candidate, joined striking firefighters on the picket line at the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service headquarters at Waterwells Business Park in Quedgeley.
“This government has come to the conclusion that it is ok for firefighters to carry on working on the front line until they are 60-years-old,” said Mr Drew.
“It believes that firefighters should pay 13 per cent of their salary towards their pension and it believes that if firefighters do not meet strict fitness standards in their late 50s then they should be sacked without accessing their accrued pension.
“This is unacceptable to Stroud firefighters and I think it is unacceptable to the vast majority of people who want to see their emergency services treated with respect and not contempt by the Government.”
“It is clear that the Fire Brigades Union has done all it can to persuade the Government of the uniqueness of its case but unfortunately the Government has chosen to ignore the evidence presented by the FBU and is imposing a pension system that will not only impact on firefighters but also impact heavily on public safety.
“I support the FBU in their campaign for fair pensions and call upon the Government to get back around the negotiating table and thrash out a deal that is acceptable to the brave men and women of our fire and rescue service.”
Stroud MP Neil Carmichael said: “The government has offered a fair deal to the firefighters which is consistent with services of that type, but if they are not happy then I think it would be better to negotiate rather than go on strike.
“However, I would like to note how well things went in Stroud during the hours of the strike and it is a tribute to our firefighters and the organisation behind them.”
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