Firefighters strike in Observer area over pensions dispute

Firefighters striking outside Chichester fire station in the last round of strikes
Firefighters striking outside Chichester fire station in the last round of strikes

FIREFIGHTERS walked out on strike for 24 hours from 9am today (December 9).

An ongoing dispute with the government over pensions has led members of the Fire Brigades Union to take the decision to stage its latest industrial action.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Firefighters in England are reluctantly calling further strike action today as a direct result of the Westminster government’s failure to listen and negotiate over pensions.

“Firefighters are asking the Westminster government to immediately open genuine negotiations to resolve this dispute. They should also hold a House of Commons debate to fully scrutinise the legislation and there should be a parliamentary vote on the regulations.

“We need to be clear. We are not going to give up or go away. Firefighters will fight for however long it takes to secure a fair pensions deal – this dispute will not end as long as the regulations remain unchanged.”

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service moved to reassure people by saying it would still be answering 999 calls despite the strike.

Click here to read safety tips from the fire brigade on taking extra care during the strike action.

According to West Sussex County Council: “West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has robust contingency plans in place in the event of a strike. However, during any period of industrial action the service would have fewer resources available and would be prioritising life-threatening incidents such as house fires and road traffic collisions where people are trapped.

“You should still dial 999 in an emergency but you can help by reducing the demand on emergency services, especially during industrial action. The message to residents, businesses, and people travelling in West Sussex during any possible strike action is to take extra care.”