24-hour firefighters strike in Essex

The FBY picket line in Chelmsford as firefighters in Essex stage a 24-hour strike Photo: Serena Sandhu / ITV Anglia

Firefighters in Essex have staged a third strike in a row over planned cuts. Members of the Fire Brigades' Union joined the picket line at Chelmsford fire station, and 11 other full-time stations across Essex, at 9am on Wednesday morning as part of a 24-hour walk out.

The union claims that 100 full-time firefighters and 60 retained firefighters have gone since 2008. That’s a loss of 1 in 8. They say if planned changes to the service continue it will become 1 in 5.

The FBU says it expects up to 3,000 firefighters and supporters from across the UK will join a march and rally in Chelmsford at midday.

Two further strikes are planned over the next three months unless an agreement can be reached.

The Essex Chief Fire Officer, David Johnson, said he hoped the strikes could be averted but contingency plans are in place.