UPDATED: Strikes by firefighters end 'without major incident' in West Yorkshire (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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UPDATED: Strikes by firefighters end 'without major incident' in West Yorkshire
Updated 4:14pm Sunday 4th May 2014 in News
A series of strikes by members of the Fire Brigades Union this Bank Holiday weekend have ended without major incident, according to West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service.
Firefighters in Bradford joined in with three national strikes in as many days over what the FBU described as “Government attacks on their pensions.”
During today’s five-hour strike, which ended at 3pm, West Yorkshire fire service took 24 calls and attended 17 incidents.
During a 12-hour strike yesterday, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service received 131 calls which resulted in attendance at 63 incidents across the county.
There were no calls for help that went unanswered, the fire service said.
In Bradford, there was a kitchen fire in East Bowling which started before the strike and was dealt with by crews prior to strike action, then passed over to contingency crews.
There was also a house fire in Girlington, where firefighters wearing breathing apparatus tackled small fire. One person was treated for smoke inhalation.
Assistant Chief Officer Dave Walton said: “This strike concludes the weekend’s industrial action.
“However, union members are now entering a period of action short of strike which is expected to continue until midday on Friday. This is not expected to affect our emergency response.
“We would encourage members of the public to remain vigilant and always make fire safety a priority.
Check your smoke alarms every week because they could save your life.”
The fire service said its contingency plans ensured it had 25 fire engines covering the county, whereas the normal fleet is 54. They were strategically placed in areas of higher risk and manned either by firefighters who have chosen not to strike or Community Response Operatives (CROs) under the guidance of senior officers.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: "Yet again firefighters have shown the strength of their anger over government attacks on their pensions and have been united in standing up for a fair, workable and affordable deal.
"It's very disappointing that we've been forced to hold another three days of strikes but nothing with deflect firefighters’ resolve when the future of their families — and the fire and rescue service itself — is at stake.
"Just like the current bout of industrial action, future strikes could be avoided simply by the government honouring current pension promises and releasing proposals for the future that reflect the discussions we've held over the last three years and take account of the evidence we have presented about our occupation.
"Surely it's now time for their games to stop and common sense to prevail?"
A Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "The deal on the table gives firefighters one of the most generous pension schemes in all the public sector, and the proposals protect the earned rights of a higher proportion of members than any other public sector scheme.
"Nearly three-quarters will see no change in their pension age in 2015."
The Government denied union claims that ministers had drawn up alternative proposals six weeks ago, but had been "sitting" on them ever since.