FIREFIGHTERS from Weymouth who are striking over pension cuts will hold a protest at the same time as members of the royal family visit the town’s fire station.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex, Edward and Sophie, will visit Weymouth Community Safety Centre and Fire Station on Friday to see the work of the charity SafeWise.
At the same time, members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will hold a picket line protest as they strike over the entire weekend in a long-running row over changes to their pensions.
Firefighters across the United Kingdom will take part in industrial action from Friday until Sunday and have organised picket lines across the country during these three days.
The FBU, which is organising the strike, has also banned voluntary overtime until Friday May 9 and Karen Adams, pictured right, the secretary for FBU South West, confirmed that the protest would continue despite the royal visit She said: “The protest will just be a presence so that the public are aware of the strike action and why we are doing it.
“It is unfortunate timing that we will be protesting during the royal visit, but it is a nationally organised dispute and the organisers didn’t know it would happen at the same time. We can’t postpone the protest because it is nationally organised, we can only follow protocol.
“I don’t envisage any problems because we are professional people. We don’t want to be on strike and we will act in a professional manner.”
Alison Shelton, chief executive at SafeWise, who will host the royals, said she was aware of the protest and hoped that the two events would not clash with each other.
She said: “The firefighters will be doing what they need to do but they won’t be interfering with it.
“My knowledge of how the fire service works these picket lines is only what I have been told and hopefully the two will peacefully co-exist.
“The thing is everybody understands why they are doing it but we need to co-exist peacefully alongside each other.”