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Hertfordshire Firefighters announce strike over Christmas and New Year
Firefighters in Borehamwood will go on strike on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve as the row over pensions continues.
The first strike will run from 7pm until midnight on Christmas Eve, and the second from 6.30pm to 12.30am on New Year’s Eve.
Another strike is due to take place on Friday January 3 as part of ongoing industrial action by firefighters arising from a dispute over government changes to their pay and pensions.
The Fire Brigade Union secretary for Hertfordshire Tony Smith said no firefighter wanted to go on strike, but many felt they had no choice.
He said: “There is never a right time to go on strike, but the Government is still refusing to meet with us and discuss our demands.
“We want to let the Government know we will not go away, we will keep going on strike until they decide to listen to us.
“Our firefighters are going to be facing a bleak Christmas as they face continuing uncertainty over the pensions they feel they have now been mis-sold.
“Christmas Eve is a week away. It is not too late for the Government to agree to meet with us and for the strike to be cancelled.”
He added there was no evidence that Christmas and New Year were any more dangerous than any other time, adding the choice of the dates to go on strike had been decided by the national union.
However Hertsmere Borough Councillor Richard Thake, who is in charge of community safety, condemned the industrial action as “reprehensible”.
He said: “It is inevitable that the risk of fire will be increased over Christmas and New Year as residents have more people in their homes and people enjoy a Christmas tipple while they cook.
“It is reprehensible that firefighters have decided to go on strike at this time.
"I understand they are concerned about their pay and pensions, but they have chosen to go on strike at this time to have the maximum impact possible, and that is wrong.”
He said Hertfordshire Council had plans in place to ensure the county was properly covered during the strike action, adding there had been no serious incidents during previous walk outs.
Cllr Thake said: “I am concerned about the effects on the loyalty, family and social lives of those who have to cover the firefighters, and am worried the number of people wanting to serve will be affected by the increased pressure.”
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