Public urged to take ‘extra care’ as 24-hour fire strike hits Hertfordshire service

Firefighters were called to Whitwell this afternoon

Firefighters were called to Whitwell this afternoon - Credit: Archant

The public have been urged to take “extra care” after firefighters went on strike this morning (Thursday) over a pensions dispute.

Chief fire officer Roy Wilsher has urged the public to take extra care

Chief fire officer Roy Wilsher has urged the public to take extra care - Credit: Archant

The 24-hour strike started at 9am, with a further walkout planned for Saturday, June 21, between 10am and 5pm.

In addition to the strikes, called by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) over a pensions dispute, firefighters have been told not to do any voluntary overtime or train strikebreakers.

Next Saturday’s walkout will be the fourteenth related to the pensions dispute since September last year.

Roy Wilsher, director of community protection at Hertfordshire County Council and Chief Fire Officer, said: “Our contingency arrangements have stood up well during previous strike action, however with fewer resources our ability to respond to incidents is reduced, therefore I urge the public to play their part again and take extra care during the strike action.

“We will be responding as quickly as possible to serious incidents. In the event of a fire you should still get out, stay out, and call 999 – you will get an emergency response. We continue to hope that the government and FBU can resolve their dispute and that further walkouts can be avoided.”

Councillor Richard Thake, who is responsible for community safety at Hertfordshire County Council, said officials were “extremely disappointed” with the move.

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He said: “During previous strike action, we have made contingency arrangements that have stood up well.

“However, with fewer resources our ability to respond to incidents is reduced, so I urge the public to take extra care during the strike action.”

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said: “It is as ever a difficult decision for us to take, but the only way to resolve this unnecessary and costly dispute is for the Government to start listening to reason.”

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