Contingency plans in place for firefighters’ strike over pensions
National contingency arrangements no longer exist since Green Goddesses were sold or donated to other countries
Contingency plans were being finalised last night to deal with the first national strike by firefighters in a decade.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will walk out for four hours from noon today across England and Wales as part of a bitter dispute with the Government over pensions.
The union is campaigning against changes it claims will mean firefighters will have to work longer, pay more into their pensions and receive less in retirement.
Some brigades, such as London and Surrey, are hiring private contractors to stand in for striking firefighters, but the public has been warned that some non-emergency calls will not be answered.
The London brigade, that will only have 27 fire engines operational during the period of the strike, said calls about flooding, trapped animals and rubbish fires will not be answered.
The Government said national contingency arrangements no longer exist since Green Goddesses – manned by the army in the last strike in 2002 – were sold or donated to countries including Zambia, Paraguay and Bosnia. Instead individual brigades are now responsible for their own contingency plans.
“Many are using officers and firefighters who are not part of the FBU action,” said a spokesman for Department of Communities and Local Government. “The Government has a strategic back-up it can deploy if needed.”
Almost 80 per cent of FBU members voted in favour of industrial action in a ballot that ended earlier this month. The FBU’s general secretary Matt Wrack suggested that further action would follow.
“This initial strike is a warning shot,” he said. “Firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions.
“It is ludicrous to expect firefighters to fight fires and rescue families in their late-50s: the lives of the general public and firefighters themselves will be endangered.”
South Korea ferry passengers who were told to stay put 'got trapped' aboard sinking ship
Are beards attractive? Ryan Gosling says yes, but science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge and find out who's right
Malaysia Airlines MH370 co-pilot's phone 'was on and made contact with network tower' 30 minutes after plane turned around
Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence witness 'unqualified' to testify
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 Big Bang Theory to get special Star Wars episode with help from Lucasfilm
- 3 Babies cry at night to stop mothers procreating, scientists claim
- 4 Pharrell Williams 'Happy': British Muslims dance to song in video
- 5 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...