More pay for firefighters - demo

SUFFOLK firefighters joined thousands of others from across the country in a demonstration for more pay.Around 40 firefighters travelled up to Scotland yesterday to join the Scottish fire crews' rally.

SUFFOLK firefighters joined thousands of others from across the country in a demonstration for more pay.

Around 40 firefighters travelled up to Scotland yesterday to join the Scottish fire crews' rally.

Suffolk union leader Paul Woolstenholmes has been leading the fight in the county to boost fire crews' pay from £21,500 a year to £30,000.

He has worked as a fireman for 17 years and earns just £22,500 a year.


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Mr Woolstenholmes, who is based at Princes Street, Ipswich, said: "People can never believe it when we tell them that.

"I don't think £30,000 is a lot for the job that we do.

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"We have been fighting for a number of years now for more pay.

"We have to get it across to people that we are serious."

Already the union has managed to get four weeks holiday for retained firefighters who were previously only allowed four days holiday a year.

They also helped the retained fighters to be granted pensions and to get the same pay an hour as full time fighters when they were called to a job.

It is not only fire fighters who are demanding more pay. Control room staff are also hoping for a rise.

Mr Woolstenholmes said: "These are the first people taking the call.

"They have to talk to the caller, mobilise the pumps, sort everything out and that can be stressful."

Suffolk fire fighters have recently joined several rallies in a bid to support colleagues around the country in their fight.

Mr Woolstenholmes said: "We went down to Bournemouth two or three months ago.

"There were around 1,000 to 1500 people at that one.

"In London you usually get between 10,000 and 12,000 people."

On August 10, Suffolk firefighters will be holding their own demonstration in the town centre where people in the town can support their fight by signing their petitions.

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