Frontline firefighters may strike

FRONTLINE firefighters across the district may take to the picket line next month as part of a nationwide public sector pension dispute.

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) members from Avon Fire and Rescue may strike as part of proposed Government pension changes, which may leave the prospect of having no adequate cover in the case of an emergency.

The last time firefighters took part in a national strike was in 2003, when military Green Goddess vehicles were used as cover, but they have since been taken out of service.

Chris Taylor, the chairman of the Avon branch of the FBU, declined to comment, but said that union members had not yet been balloted for strike action.

Tim Marter, a member of the Avon Fire Authority, the force’s supervisory body, said: “If it were just support staff who were going on strike then that is something that could be covered, but frontline firefighters doing so as well may leave our resources a bit stretched – we must look at all the options to cover this possibility.

“Perhaps like last time they may set up their picket lines outside the stations, so that if an emergency does happen, they will able to go out to attend to it.”

A spokesman for Avon Fire and Rescue said: “We can confirm that the FBU has registered a trade dispute with the Department of Communities and Local Government over the issue of pension reform proposals.

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“A formal trade dispute has also been registered with Avon Fire Authority.

“Our understanding at this time is that scheme-specific negotiations are ongoing between central Government and the trade unions.

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