Public turn against striking fire crews

CALL off the fire strike! That's the verdict of Evening Star readers today as the firefighters' first 48-hour strike comes to an end.More than 300 people took part in our survey on the web and in face-to-face interviews in Ipswich and Felixstowe.

By Paul Geater

CALL off the fire strike! That's the verdict of Evening Star readers today as the firefighters' first 48-hour strike comes to an end.

More than 300 people took part in our survey on the web and in face-to-face interviews in Ipswich and Felixstowe. The result was exactly two-to-one opposed to the firefighters' strikes.

Conciliation talks between the government and fire unions are now clearly a top priority in many peoples' minds as eight-day strikes loom.

Web polls have to be read cautiously but, linked with the face-to-face interviews, the result is almost identical to surveys carried out by other media in Suffolk and in East Anglia as a whole.

The Star's web poll also suggests that only one in four people believe firefighters should be given a 40 per cent pay increase.

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On the streets today, people pointed out that there is no shortage of people applying for full-time firefighting posts.

But we have also heard from members of the public who say firefighting is very dangerous and they deserve a reasonable wage for putting themselves at risk.

Firefighters have told of morale boosts on the picket line as passing motorists toot their car horns in support – but, according to the results of our survey today, this does not tell the whole story.

Fire remains a key issue across the country today after four members of the same family died in a house blaze in Wiltshire.

The blaze was fought by non-striking retained firefighters – but it kept the issue at the top of the agenda.

The government also said troops might be told to cross picket lines and use red fire appliances rather than green goddesses if the threatened eight-day strike goes ahead next week.

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