FIREFIGHTERS in the Portsmouth area last night joined in the latest round of national strike action in their row with the government over pensions.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union went on strike for four hours last night, and will do so again between 6pm and 10pm tonight, with the threat of further action in the new year.
Matt Wrack, from the union, said: ‘No firefighter wants to strike, but we cannot allow the government’s ludicrous proposals, and outright hypocrisy, to stand. We’ll keep on fighting until the government sees sense and comes back to negotiations.’
FBU members have taken strike actions four times so far in protest at changes to pensions and their retirement age, which the union says threatens older firefighters.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said that despite the strike it responded to all its call within target times.
The fire service said that during last night’s strike, it had 40 operational fire appliances – 50 per cent of its usual number.
The service added it was still able to respond well within its 20-minute target time to emergency incidents.
Assistant chief officer Neil Odin said: ‘We have been focusing on people celebrating safely and the night time economy, making sure landlords and pub owners are aware and getting safety messages out on our behalf.
‘Tonight we would again ask people to take extra care and think about the things you can do – if you go out make sure your Christmas lights are turned off, candles are extinguished and, if you are celebrating, take a cab, don’t cook when you get home and get a takeaway.’