Gravesham and Dartford firefighters to strike for five hours
PUBLISHED: 16:09 11 October 2013 | UPDATED: 16:10 11 October 2013
Firefighters in Gravesham and Dartford will strike over pensions again next week, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has announced.
Residents have been advised to take extra care during the national strike, which will be from 6.30pm to 11.30pm on Saturday, October 19.
It follows the September 25 walkout, and is a response to changes the FBU says will result in firefighters working for longer, paying more into their pensions and receiving less in retirement.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “We had hoped our first strike was enough to show government that firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions.
“No firefighter wants to strike, and it’s desperately disappointing that the government continue to deny reality over pension costs and the need for a pension scheme that reflects the job firefighters do.
“Firefighters simply cannot be expected to fight fires and rescue families in their late 50s and into their 60s.
“We hope this second strike will mean the government will be willing to discuss the full range of concerns firefighters and the general public have expressed.
“However, more strikes cannot be ruled out if that’s what it takes to protect public and firefighter safety from these ludicrous attacks.”
Gravesham has a fire station in Coldharbour Road, Northfleet and Dartford in Watling street, Dartford.
Ann Millington, chief executive of Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS), said: “We hope that the government and union will continue to work towards a solution that avoids any further industrial action.
“KFRS has contingency plans in place to have fire engines, crewed with staff who are not striking, based at strategic locations to provide the best possible countywide spread. In addition some local fire stations may also remain open if additional firefighters decide nearer the time not to strike.
“If this second strike does go ahead we will be asking local people to be sensible and make extra safety checks and precautions to help prevent fires in their homes or businesses such as being more vigilant about checking smoke detectors, never leaving cooking unattended, avoiding bonfires, not overloading sockets and making sure children understand that setting outdoor fires could take a fire engine away from a life saving rescue.”