Firefighers set five dates for strike action

FIREFIGHTERS in Essex are to stage five strikes over the coming months in a dispute over cuts.

The Fire Brigades Union said its members will take industrial action on June 28, July 7 and 18, August 18 and October 18.

The union said the county will have lost one in five frontline firefighters since 2008 if a current round of planned cuts goes ahead.

Alan Chinn-Shaw, chairman of the FBU’s Essex branch, said: “This is about cuts to frontline firefighters and changes imposed on firefighters. We’ve had enough and the cuts are now directly impacting on public and firefighter safety.

“The cuts and impositions continue while the fire authority says it wants talks. That simply undermines the talks before they start.

“The recent highly provocative removal of key fire engines and vital rescue equipment contradicts the fire authority claim that it is being reasonable. This two-faced approach has gone on for three years and enough is enough.”

Essex firefighters voted by 2-1 in favour of strikes following almost three years of action short of a strike over cuts.

Most Read

However, Essex Fire chiefs remain confident that the need for strike action can be averted.

Chief fire officer David Johnson says that talks with ACAS will go ahead on Monday and he hopes that union officials will accept the offer from senior managers to attend with whatever representation they need or want.

CFO Johnson has gone on record to reassure the public that ECFRS had resilient contingency plans to protect the communities of Essex during any periods of strike action. More than 100 ECFRS firefighters have signed resilience contracts guaranteeing their availability to provide cover during any periods of staff shortage and many of the service’s retained stations have indicated that they will continue to provide life saving cover during periods of strike action.