Norman Hampshire urges people to stay safe during fire service strikes

Norman Hampshire urges people to stay safe during fire service strikes

THE leader of East Lothian Council has urged people to stay safe after the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) voted to strike over pay disputes.

The FBU said that no dates for strikes, which are set to occur across the UK, will be announced until after it meets fire service employers.

A meeting is set for Wednesday.

Councillor Norman Hampshire said that the planned strikes were a worry.

He said: “It is obviously a big concern at the moment. This has been an ongoing dispute and it’s really just peaked now with the strikes.

“We just have to ensure that the local community are aware of the strikes and are as safe as they can be during them because obviously there will be no services available.

“There is not much the council can do other than encourage people to be as safe as possible and prevent any emergencies.

‘Tough time for everyone’

“I’ve not had the chance to meet with any local fire people yet, but I hope to soon and we’ll discuss how they are feeling and what they want to see happen.

“It’s a tough time for everyone at the moment with the cost of living and the fire service are struggling too, along with many other emergency services.

“We’re hoping that a sitdown will happen with the Government and that something will be resolved but I am a bit worried that this could go on for a while.

“I don’t know how long they plan on striking but I’m not sure they’ll give up until something changes.”

The FBU said that since 2010, its members had experienced a 12 per cent drop in real terms earnings, while about one in five firefighter jobs had been cut.

Of the 73 per cent of union members who voted, 88 per cent of staff voted to take action.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said the UK Government “need to wake up and wise up to the level of anger among their employees about falling real pay in the fire service”.

Elena Whitham MSP, Scottish Government community safety minister, called the strike threat “disappointing”.

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East Lothian Courier
Craig Bathgate

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