Suffolk firefighters prepare for strike

SUFFOLK'S Fire Brigades Union has indicated that strikes will go ahead on Wednesday after national pay talks ended without agreement.Paul Woolstenholmes, secretary of the Suffolk FBU, said it was now "only a question of formalities" before the first waive of strikes – scheduled for eight days beginning on November 6 – begins.

SUFFOLK'S Fire Brigades Union has indicated that strikes will go ahead on Wednesday after national pay talks ended without agreement.

Paul Woolstenholmes, secretary of the Suffolk FBU, said it was now "only a question of formalities" before the first waive of strikes – scheduled for eight days beginning on November 6 – begins.

He added: "We are reverting to plan A. We've been ringing around to gauge feeling and the bottom line is that nothing has changed.

"Our employers are testing our patience. We have shown them that the FBU was genuinely committed to resolving this without taking strike action – we proved that by withdrawing the first two 24-hours strikes. They haven't shown us a single sign of good faith.


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"They've said they'll give us a four per cent rise but they still haven't told us what we're worth.

"We aren't militants striving to overthrow the government. We're people who work hard in often very dangerous jobs.

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"We aren't going to achieve anything unless we take a stand. The bottom line is, I believe we will be on strike come next Wednesday."

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: "Should industrial action result next week then all of our contingency plans and agreements which had been prepared will obviously come into action. We are watching the situation with great interest."

Eight army Green Goddesses were on standby to provide cover for Suffolk, along with up to 20 retained fire stations.

The FBU's executive was due to meet on Monday to decide whether to go ahead with strikes.

The FBU general secretary Andy Gilchrist said the union remained very committed to its pay demand of a 40 pc rise, taking salaries to £30,000.

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