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Borough braced for fire strike

Wigan Community Fire Station representative Mike Gregory, centre, joins other firefighters, as they hold a strike over pensions, pictured at Wigan Fires Station, Scott Lane, Wigan

Wigan Community Fire Station representative Mike Gregory, centre, joins other firefighters, as they hold a strike over pensions, pictured at Wigan Fires Station, Scott Lane, Wigan

WIGAN and Leigh will be covered by stand-in crews as firefighters have started an eight-day strike action today (Saturday).

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will stage walkouts from 12pm to 2pm and 10.59pm to 11.59pm each day until Saturday August 16.

The union is locked in an ongoing dispute with the Government over pension changes.

Borough fire manager Steve Sheridan has urged residents to be extra vigilant during the strike hours.

Checking smoke alarms are in working order and coming up with a fire escape plan has been advised.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has drafter in stand-in officers to cover the strike.

Hopes had been raised of a resolution to the pension dispute with talks agreed with new fire minister Penny Mordaunt MP.

But union leaders have accused the minister of “scuppering” the meetings.

FBU Assistant General Secretary Andy Dark: “Government proposals as they stand include a number of unacceptable elements including firefighters being forced to work until 60 – an age at which the enormous physical demands of the job are beyond most of us.

“Both sides have identified that there are possible solutions to these issues but the Government is unwilling to amends its proposals.

“Firefighters hate striking. That is why we are astounded by the cancellation of the last-minute talks.

“It is a bitter disappointment that she cancelled them and made this series of strikes inevitable.”

The Government has maintained that the pension offer is one of the most generous in the public sector.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “Once again, the FBU has followed up positive discussions with the fire minister by calling further industrial action the very next day, rather than continue constructive dialogue.

“Strike action serves only to make progress in settling this dispute harder.”

 

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