FIREFIGHTERS are due to strike on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve as part of their ongoing dispute with the Government over pensions.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) have lined up three days of strikes over the holiday period.
The proposed strikes are between 7pm and midnight on Christmas Eve, 6.30pm on New Year’s Eve to 12.30am on New Year’s Day and 6.30am to 8.30am on Friday, January 3.
Workers in fire brigade call centres across the UK will refuse to work voluntary overtime on Christmas Eve too. The call centres will be manned during the strike.
All firefighters across the UK, except those working in control, will refuse to work voluntary overtime between 7pm on Friday, December 27 and 7pm on Sunday, December 29.
Matt Wrack, FBU General Secretary, said: “Firefighters provide a first-class standard of service 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
“These strikes will remind government just how reliant they are on our members’ professionalism, commitment and flexibility.
“There should be no need for industrial action, and it’s absurd that firefighters’ concerns over pensions have not been addressed.”
The union is at loggerheads with the Government over proposed changes to firefighters’ pensions which it says would mean its members having to work until they are older.
A spokesman for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said it had contingency plans in place to cater for the strikes.
Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The service has plans in place to offer a limited response service during industrial action.
“Appliances are available to attend incidents across the whole of Tyne and Wear and their attendance at incidents will be prioritised according to the risk to life and property.”
Stuart Errington, deputy chief fire officer of County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We would advise people to take extra care and follow some simple steps to reduce the risk of fire.
“We will continue to provide a professional response in the event of a fire or other emergency during strike action on these most recently announced strike dates.”
Details of the proposed industrial action can be found at //bit.ly/FBUxmasstrikes.