Fire cuts protest march

FIREFIGHTERS angry over what they say are plans to cut 12 frontline posts were due to march through Ipswich today.Suffolk police is warning of possible delays along roads in the town centre during the march, which is due to start at 2pm from Princes Street fire station.

FIREFIGHTERS angry over what they say are plans to cut 12 frontline posts were due to march through Ipswich today.

Suffolk police is warning of possible delays along roads in the town centre during the march, which is due to start at 2pm from Princes Street fire station.

Between 500 and 2,000 firefighters from around the country were expected to take part.

The march route stretched from the fire station, into Russell Road, along Constantine Way before turning into Sir Alf Ramsey Way and continuing along Portman Road, Handford Road, Civic Drive, Elm Street, Kings Street and the pedestrianised section of Princes Street before reaching the Cornhill.


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Once at the Cornhill the firefighters were due to gather for a rally.

Suffolk's firefighters were preparing to go on strike again today after talks with Suffolk County Council failed to end their dispute over the proposed cuts.

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Union bosses met with the council on Tuesday but no resolution was reached over the dispute to axe the 12 posts responsible for crewing the turntable ladder in Bury St Edmunds.

The strike action coincided with threats of a new round of walkouts following an announcement by the government yesterday that Suffolk's fire control centre was to close and be replaced by a regional control centre in Cambridge.

As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star, the 33,000sq-ft centre, which will be based at Cambridge Research Park, will act as the fire control centre for Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire and will lead to a number of jobs being axed from the existing Ipswich control room.

Carl Francis, officers' section secretary for the union, warned the loss of staff with local knowledge could mean that the fire service's response to emergency situations would be affected.

He said: "There is huge concern the local knowledge will be lost and, in effect, we will be served by a large call centre in Cambridge."

Mr Francis said strike action could result from the decision.

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