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Firefighters strikes in Somerset on Friday and Monday
The Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) will respond to 999 calls during the walkouts from 6.30pm to 11pm on Friday and 6am to 8am on Monday.
Fire Brigades Union members, who cancelled a previous walkout this month, are taking industrial action after the latest talks with the Government over pension reforms broke down.
The South-West FBU’s Tam MacFarlane said: “Going on strike is a last resort, but we were left with no option.
“We cancelled the previous strike because we were promised further talks, but they broke down.
“We’ve called small strikes and deliberately tried to avoid any disruption at Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night.
“We’re trying to be reasonable and hopefully the public will see the blame lies with the Government and the employers.
“The Government wants firefighters to work until 60 – but who wants a 60-year-old fireifghter when their house is on fire?
“If firefighters can’t reach the fitness levels, they’ll lose their jobs and won’t be able to access their pensions.”
A DSFRS spokesman said: “We’ll continue to respond to 999 calls and do everything we can to keep the public safe.
“People can help by taking extra care and time to think about fire safety in your home during this period - checking smoke alarms, ensuring you know what you would do if there was a fire and not making unnecessary calls to the fire and rescue service.
“Businesses are also reminded of their responsibilities, as during periods of industrial action the service may not be able to respond to fire safety enquiries within its usual timescales. It remains the responsibility of employers, landlords and other premises occupiers to comply with fire safety law.”
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis said the strike is “completely unnecessary” and simply damages the service’s reputation.
He added: “Last week the FBU called off a planned strike after we put an offer on the table that matched the fitness terms accepted in Scotland.
“We also facilitated further discussions between the FBU and employers over the issue of firefighter fitness.
“Talks were progressing encouragingly and in good faith, so for the FBU to walk away after only four days of negotiation is completely baffling.”
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