Striking firefighters reject offers

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The Independent Online
Striking firefighters yesterday rejected offers to prevent further action later this week. Fire crews walked out of stations and control rooms across Derbyshire at 9am at the start of their first nine-hour strike, called after the county council agreed to cut the service's budget by pounds 1.3m. Army Green Goddess fire engines were on standby and emergency calls were diverted to a temporary control room at police headquarters in Matlock.

Martin Doughty, the council leader, said the authority could not afford to abandon the cuts. Compromises were offered to the Fire Brigades' Union during seven hours of talks on Sunday with the conciliatory service Acas. A second nine-hour strike is planned for Saturday, with each day of strike action costing the county council pounds 45,000.