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UPDATE: Firefighters to strike in Dorset
10:50am Tuesday 15th October 2013 in News
FIREFIGHTERS will be going on strike in Dorset this weekend in an ongoing row over pensions.
The national action is taking place from 6.30pm to 11.30pm on Saturday and secretary of Dorset Fire Brigades Union (FBU) Karen Adams confirmed firefighters from Dorset will be taking part.
She said: "No one in Dorset wants to strike and it is with a heavy heart that we will be taking action.
"But people do have to fight for their livelihoods. All we are trying to do is ultimately get a little bit more protection for people to allow them to be able to retire before they are 60."
The move follows a strike in September, and firefighters have been 'forced into' taking more action, she added.
"Last time they would not come and talk to us, so we have been forced into this position."
The Dorset branch of the FBU has just under 400 members, and those on shift will be taking part in the strike, she said.
The FBU believes the reforms to pensions and retirement age will mean firefighters lose their job if they are unable to fulfil the role when they reach their 50s and 60s.
General secretary of the union Matt Wrack has not ruled out further strikes if the issue is not resolved.
Saturday’s industrial action will affect fire and rescue services across England and Wales, but not Scotland, where unions said a pensions offer from the Scottish Government is enough to prevent a strike.
Mrs Adams said: “We are hoping now there has been this agreement in Scotland that Westminster will do the same and make an offer.
“It is quite frustrating.”
Chief Fire Officer Darran Gunter said cover has been arranged across the county for the duration of the strike on Saturday and the emergency response service will be unaffected.
He said: “During the planned FBU action this weekend, Dorset Fire and Rescue Service will be utilising its non-FBU staff to continue to provide emergency response cover across the county.
“In some cases it will mean that local emergency response cover is unchanged and in other areas it may mean that we pool our available staff to crew fire engines at key stations.”
But he warned residents to take precautions.
“We are reminding the public and businesses to take extra steps to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out.
“Fires can start for a variety of reasons, from cooking being left unattended to electrical faults or candles being placed too close to furnishings.”
He added: “The best advice we can give is for everyone to ensure they have a smoke alarm in their home and to check the battery is working at least once a week.
“Smoke detectors provide an early warning of a fire and can give occupants vital extra minutes to escape, especially at night.
“But a smoke alarm can only save your life if it is working and the battery is checked regularly.”
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