Firefighters in ballot over strike

PUBLISHED: 11:53 13 April 2006 | UPDATED: 10:01 06 May 2010

Roy Wilsher

Roy Wilsher

FIREFIGHTERS have voted on whether to strike after plans to cut posts at Stevenage station were agreed by councillors. The result of the ballot is expected tomorrow (Friday). Hertfordshire FBU is concerned about cuts to the service across the county at ni

FIREFIGHTERS have voted on whether to strike after plans to cut posts at Stevenage station were agreed by councillors.

The result of the ballot is expected tomorrow (Friday).

Hertfordshire FBU is concerned about cuts to the service across the county at nights and weekends and fewer rescue appliances, fewer firefighters on fire engines and a longer wait for crews to arrive to 999 calls.

Stevenage, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans would lose a total of 12 frontline firefighter posts and three command and control officer posts would also go.

Hertfordshire FBU vice-chair Tony Smith said: "We are deeply saddened we are being forced into this action and we are reluctant to do so. "Hertfordshire is one of the lowest spending fire authorities and there is no room here for cuts.

"Fire crews will not stand back and watch our service being torn apart. We are angered at the decision to press ahead with these cuts and we intend to fight them.

"Despite repeated claims by some councillors this is nothing to do with our dispute of three years ago and 'modernisation'. This is about old fashioned budget cuts to save money, it's as simple as that.

"There would be fewer frontline firefighters responding more slowly to 999 calls with less rescue equipment available. These savage cuts would make the public less safe and fire crews less safe and we would seriously urge councillors to think again."

On the eve of the strike ballot, Herts chief fire officer Roy Wilsher appealed in a letter to all firefighters to think carefully before voting.

He said that the union was opposing all proposals in the modernisation plan for the service including those for extra firefighters at some stations and setting up a community fire safety task force.

And he added: "A strike will put the community at risk. I hope that we can avoid industrial action because we all have the same aim - to keep Hertfordshire safe.


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