Smiles turn to anger on fire picket line
PICKET-LINE optimism has been replaced by simmering anger as the fire strike reaches boiling point.The cheery smiles and waves of the first 48-hour stoppage have gone up in brazier smoke.
PICKET-LINE optimism has been replaced by simmering anger as the fire strike reaches boiling point.
The cheery smiles and waves of the first 48-hour stoppage have gone up in brazier smoke.
Now the reluctant radicals at Suffolk's fire stations are facing the future with a "grim determination."
Sub officer Dave Collins, who is manning the pickets at Ipswich's HQ, said: "Smiles will always be there, but there's a more sombre mood now.
You may also want to watch:
"The first 48 hours was like dipping your toe in the water and there was a lot of hope there, but a lot of that hope has gone."
Both Mr Collins and Fire Brigade Union official Adrian Mayhew thought an agreement was coming during crunch overnight talks.
- 1 Police confirm body found in River Orwell was of a 17-year-old boy
- 2 Body found in the River Orwell
- 3 Felixstowe beach hut sells for record price of £65k within hours
- 4 Wrong way A12 driver flees scene after causing crash
- 5 Ipswich landlord fined £4K for leaving mountain of rubbish outside property
- 6 Police investigate illegal Kesgrave bike jumps
- 7 Man, 71, downloaded child porn after accident affected his sex life
- 8 Woman who posed as food bank staff steals Easter eggs from Morrisons
- 9 Cheers! Ipswich pubs and restaurants welcome first indoor guests of 2021
- 10 HOW THE NIGHT UNFOLDED: Witches prove too hot for Lynn
But when hopes were dashed, they laid the blame firmly at the door of the Government.
Mr Collins said: "There was an agreement there, but when it was put before John Prescott he said the Government doesn't start work until nine.
"We work all hours – they should be prepared to as well."
And if the Government is now the principle enemy, the battle lines have also widened.
Mr Collins described the pay dispute as just one of the factors firefighters are now fighting for.
He said: "People talk about 40 per cent, but pay has almost become a secondary issue now.
"The employers are talking about modernisation, but the kind of modernisation they want would see fire services decimated.
"They want to cut fire cover at night. Ok, so maybe we have less fires at night, but that's when people die.
"If there's more than one major incident in Ipswich, there won't be anyone to send – that's the way it's going."
Mr Mayhew said: "Do they want to see fire engines waiting in McDonalds' car parks waiting for a call-out? That's what will happen."
Despite agreement seeming so close overnight, both sides now seem entrenched for a long, drawn-out battle.
Mr Mayhew said: "The general feeling in Suffolk is that we're in it for the long haul.
"There are day crews in Felixstowe that are picketing the station 24 hours a day – that's how strong the feeling is."