Fire in the open as strike comes to an end

STRIKE ACTION Firefighters are unhappy with their pension deal.
STRIKE ACTION Firefighters are unhappy with their pension deal.

Firefighters attended a fire in the open in Thornhill while members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) were on strike.

They were called to the incident on Monday (21), the final day of eight in which firefighters were on strike.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) has covered this period, which has included 15 short strikes of two hours duration, using contingency crews made up of non-striking fully qualified officers and community response operatives.

During the hours of strike, which began on Monday 14 and ended on Monday 21, the brigade received a total of 193 calls and attended 95 incidents.

Many calls were duplicates to the same incident and some were of a minor nature where advice could be given.

Firefighters are now back at work, but their dispute with the government over pensions is not over. Until further notice FBU members are working voluntary overtime, non-contractual overtime or any additional voluntary hours.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Firefighters have solidly observed the strike action over the past eight days. This has not been easy for them or their families, but all firefighters are aware what is at risk here.

“Firefighters cannot accept a deal which rips up the pension promises they were given and creates an unaffordable and unworkable pension which takes no account of the real work firefighters do and the fitness requirements which go with it.

Meanwhile, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) has been blitzing Batley and Dewsbury with fire safety advice in the last week, with crews carrying out 514 home fire safety checks.

The campaign was undertaken in preparation for the new fire station which will replace the existing stations on Carlinghow Lane and Huddersfield Road.

In 2011, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority approved a new build fire station at Carlton Road, just off the A652 Bradford Road in Dewsbury.

Construction is due to start in September 2014 and it is expected that it will be operational by October 2015.

District Commander for Kirklees, Chris Kirby, said: “We identified a list of addresses in both Batley and Dewsbury we would like to visit to provide fire safety advice and education as well as increase the number of people who have a smoke alarm.

“Heightened awareness of how fires can start and smoke alarm ownership both significantly increase the safety of people in their homes.

“We have focused in on areas of greatest risk – this may be at premises where people have had repeated accidental fires or where there has been a fire and no smoke alarm present.”