FIREFIGHTERS are staging their first 24-hour strike today, after the government confirmed it would implement a new scheme without further negotiations.
The strike, the longest yet in the three-year campaign, will take place from 9am and another strike is set for 10am to 5pm on Saturday, June 21.
Between the two strikes, Fire Brigades Union members will not carry out any voluntary overtime, which is routinely needed by many fire and rescue services to maintain fire cover, or conduct training of strikebreakers between the beginning of the first strike and 9am on Sunday, June 22.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: “The minister has decided to bury his head in the sand, but he must accept that firefighters simply will not give up fighting for their futures — and our fire and rescue service.
“Concerns over these unworkable proposals remain as valid and grave as ever, and the government has ignored all the evidence including it’s own reports.
“It is as ever a difficult decision for us to take, but the only way for us to resolve this unnecessary and costly dispute is for the government to start listening to reason.”
A spokesman for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said it will still be responding to emergencies, so people can dial 999, but the service will have fewer resources.
“We will be positioning those resources around the county to provide the best achievable cover on the day so we are asking people to help reduce the number of emergencies occurring by taking extra care.
“Advice is available on our webpage www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire and FRSs are using the hash tag #takeextracare to promote this via social media,” the service explained.
They are neutral on issues surrounding the strike.