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Bradford firefighters walk out over pensions
Firefighters across Bradford last night took part in a second national strike in a bitter row over proposed Government changes to their pensions.
West Yorkshire Fire Service was left running at half capacity – with stations and engines manned by teams of non-striking firefighters and volunteers – as members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) formed picket lines outside stations across the city from 6.30pm until 11pm.
At Bradford Fire Station, the day shift walked out of the station’s front doors at 6.30pm to cheers from their colleagues and supporters who had already started gathering outside.
Cars driving past the fire station on Leeds Road beeped their horns in solidarity, while firefighters and their children stood waving placards.
Over at Fairweather Green Fire Station, crews could be seen waving large orange FBU flags as a fire engine manned by voluntary firefighters and non-striking staff pulled in.
Bradford divisional secretary of the FBU Lee Indricks was on the picket-line outside his station during the strike, which followed a similar walk out in September.
“It is sad that it’s come to this, but this is the last option available to us,” he said.
“My own family and children live in this area and they will not have the same fire cover tonight. It really is a last resort after two years of negotiations with the Government.”
Mr Indriks said the proposed changes to their pensions would force firefighters to work until they were 60, which would be threat to the safety of the public and firefighters.
During the first three hours of the strike, firefighters were called to two ‘fires in the open’ – one at 6.38pm on Mossy Bank Close in Queensbury and the second at the skateboard park in Wesley Place, Silsden, at 6.54pm – and a house fire, sparked by an oven, on Laurel Grove, Silsden, at 7.57pm.
The fire service was unable to comment on the impact of the strike when the Telegraph & Argus went to press.
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