Firemen go on strike

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The Independent Online
Firefighters in Essex staged the first of a threatened series of one-day strikes yesterday, amid Conservative warnings of a new "winter of discontent" if Labour wins the election.

The strike, over spending cuts, forced Essex County Council to call in Army and RAF "Green Goddesses" to provide emergency cover. One broke down at a busy roundabout on the way to a 999 call.

The walkout coincided with the Conservatives' launch of a new election campaign theme: "The Unions Are About To Strike". Michael Heseltine, the Deputy Prime Minister, said: "Britain is booming. But the dangers are clear and close. The unions are about to strike. And make no mistake. It would be in public services that they would strike first.

"For it is the public services where Labour's pay-off would give the unions an immediate stranglehold: a closed shop for public-sector unions, the end to contracting out, and the public held to ransom ... It would end with a new winter of discontent."