More fire strikes planned
TWO strikes planned by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) are still due to go ahead unless the union and the fire authority can reach an agreement on service cuts. The FBU has organised the strikes, between 2pm and 10pm this Friday and the same times next We
TWO strikes planned by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) are still due to go ahead unless the union and the fire authority can reach an agreement on service cuts.
The FBU has organised the strikes, between 2pm and 10pm this Friday and the same times next Wednesday, in response to Hertfordshire County Council's proposals to cut fire services in the county.
If they go ahead they will take the total of strikes during the dispute up to three following last Saturday's action when firefighters at Hitchin, Stevenage and Baldock and Letchworth fire stations walked out.
During those eight hours one temporary station was set up in Stevenage and six calls were made to the fire services in the county.
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Although the council said that no lives were lost during the walk-out it warned that people may not be so lucky during other strikes.
County councillor David Lloyd said: "Obviously we are disappointed that the strike went ahead but this is not the time for recrimination.
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"The time has come now for the FBU to engage in genuine talks, to stop all the rhetoric and work to find a solution that we can both agree.
"So far they have not responded to our proposals except by issuing strike dates - that's not a mature way of conducting negotiations."
FBU vice-chairman Tony Smith said: "Fire crews are keen to reach an acceptable agreement, we are not just wandering bloody-minded into strikes.
"We are ready, willing and able to meet for talks before, during and after any periods of lawful strike to try and resolve this dispute."
The FBU said that despite talks which finished on Monday it is still waiting for further proposals from managers and councillors.
A spokesman for the FBU said: "At this stage, brigade officials of the union have yet to see the further proposals mentioned by the fire authority on Monday night. These will be considered in detail once they have been received."
However, when asked about this a spokesman for the council said: "We are pleased that talks are continuing this week with the Fire Brigades Union. We have agreed with the union not to discuss the details of the negotiations whilst talks are on-going.