Essex firefighters step up strikes over spending cuts

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Firefighters will stage a second strike today as their bitter dispute over spending cuts was set to escalate into further disruption.

Around 1,000 members of the Fire Brigades Union in Essex will walk out for four hours from 9am, with military Green Goddesses being used to provide cover. The union is planning a third strike on Wednesday and is set to name further dates despite a warning from the county council that firefighters will be suspended if that happens.

The FBU was further incensed when firefighters were told they would not be paid for their shift yesterday if they had been on strike. Firefighters who were on strike for one hour from the start of their shift at 9am worked the rest of the day without being paid.

The FBU accused the council of inflaming the dispute over pounds 1.5m spending cuts which, it has warned, will cut jobs.