‘Public backs fire strike’

FBU strike outside South Shore station
FBU strike outside South Shore station
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Striking firefighters say they still have the public’s backing after their latest 24-hour walk out.

Emergency crews took part in their 13th - and longest - strike since September yesterday as their dispute over pensions and the retirement age shows no sign of abating.

Mick Drake, a Fire Brigade Union representative at South Shore station, said: “We have massive support from the public, and what we need is what we keep getting - a blanket walk out across the station.

“It was never going to be a quick and easy fix, but we believe in what we are doing and we have got to get some reaction to that.

“Every time we go out to the front of the station we have a large public support, and people wish us well.

“People understand and they think firefighters are reasonable people who are not going to walk out for no reason.”

Firefighters are demanding a flexible retirement age after they turn 55 and no further increases in contributions towards the service’s pension scheme.

Mr Drake believes keeping firefighters in the job until they are over 60 will be a danger to the public.

He added: “With strikes being periods of short action, firefighters are prepared to do whatever it takes.

“We are all set to lose a massive amount of money and work up to 10 years longer. The proposals are unworkable.

“To think people trapped in buildings could be rescued by a 60-year-old is ridiculous, and it puts the public at risk.”

Steve Harman, brigade secretary for the FBU, added: “We have no doubt the public are backing our strike.

“They support the fire service and know we are fighting for the future of it.

“We are getting massive support on the picket lines because they know the Government is being extremely unjust.

“We have lost fire engines and firefighters are resigning to move into other work because they don’t see it as sustainable for their families.”