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Firefighters strike this morning in Hertfordshire without major incident
Firefighters again went on strike this morning as part of a long running and bitter dispute with the Government over pensions.
The national walkout, which lasted from 6am until 8am, was the third since September, with firefighters having taken industrial action on Friday evening and on September 25.
Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service received eight calls in total during the two most recent walkouts and no major problems were reported.
Hertfordshire county councillor Richard Thake, who is in charge of community safety, said all the incidents that occurred during the strikes had been dealt with effectively despite fewer resources.
He added: “We are disappointed that further walkouts took place and we hope a speedy resolution will be found to this dispute in the interests of all concerned.”
Chief Fire Officer Roy Wilsher praised the “excellent work” of officers and the community protection team who remained at work during the strike.
He said: “We would like to thank everyone who took extra care during the strike action and heeded the safety advice given prior to the walkout.”
Watch Commander Cliff Webb of Borehamwood Fire Station, said no firefighter wanted to go on strike but he and his colleagues felt they had no choice.
He said: “I hate the thought of industrial action, I hate withholding my labour, it makes me sick and stressed. Strike action is always the last resort.”
Watch Commander Webb, 44, who joined the service in 1999, said he had signed up expecting to retire at 55 and be able to provide for his wife and two children after he retired.
He said: “I understand the need to make savings, but I hate it when people say we have gold plated pensions. We pay 13 per cent in pension contributions, which is far higher than other public or private sector workers.”
He added he was prepared to work until 60 since the law had been changed, but expressed concern many firefighters would not be fit enough to perform their duties at that age.
He said: “We have to be physically fit to do our job. We’re expected to spend an hour a day in the gym and spend two hours doing training exercises every afternoon, which involve lifting a share of a 100kg ladder.
“Doing that is simply not possible for older people and could put people’s safety at risk.”
He added: “We’re fighting for the future of our families and for our own safety and that of the public. I hope a resolution is reached soon.”
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