- 7 updates
The Fire Brigades Union has praised fire fighters for their unity and determination during last night's strike. Fire fighters across England and Wales walked out on strike between 6.30pm and 11pm in the dispute about pensions.
FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack said: 'Fire fighters have once again shown their determination to defend their pension rights and to campaign for a pension which reflects the job they do. We hope government will now sit down and negotiate a settlement to this dispute.'
Fire services across the Meridian region say they were not greatly affected by industrial action by fire fighters last night. Although there were fewer fire appliances on call, fire services say they were able to deal with incidents.
Hampshire - 41 fire appliances crewed by retained fire fighters, about half the usual number. Service's 20-minute response time to emergencies was maintained.
Wiltshire - 18 appliances on duty instead of 24. Crews attended just one incident across the county - an overheated plug socket in Swindon.
Berkshire - 10 appliances available instead of average of 15. Four calls received, only one of which required the brigade’s attendance. This was a small fire in a garden in Humber Way, Owlsmoor, which was out on arrival.
Further strikes are scheduled between 6am and 8am on Monday.
Firefighters are on strike tonight, from 6:30pm to 11pm. It's the second time they've staged a walkout.
But whereas their last protest was on a warm September afternoon, tonight they're taking action when bonfires are being lit around the country, and the risk of accident is that much higher.
One fire chief says she's been advising organisers of firework displays to postpone them - until the unions return to work.
Andrea Thomas has been speaking to Geoff Licence, who's running a fireworks display in Bearsted, near Maidstone and Ann Millington, the Chief Executive of Kent Fire and Rescue Service.
The Fire Brigades Union has accused the Government of not listening to its own evidence which shows proposed pension changes are "unworkable and unaffordable".
The Government said the strikes, due to take place from 6.30pm to 11pm today, were damaging the reputation of the fire service.
The general secretary of the FBU, Matt Wrack, said: "It is ludicrous that after two years of negotiations the Government has still not sorted out this mess.
"Firefighters are keen for these issues to be resolved through discussion but the Government won't even listen to its own evidence which highlight that the schemes are unworkable and unaffordable."
Mr Wrack called on the Government to help deliver a pension scheme which takes account of the "hazardous nature of the job" and is affordable and workable for the taxpayer.
Fire brigades across the country have urged people to put off any firework displays in their gardens tonight and to switch it to Saturday, or to go to an organised event as firefighters go on strike in a row over pensions.
London Fire Brigade said today was likely to be one of the busiest days of the year for the fire service, ahead of Guy Fawkes Night and Diwali celebrations and urged people to attend organised displays.
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson called on people not to put themselves at risk by lighting fireworks and bonfires tonight as only serious emergencies will be attended to by a contingency fire and rescue service during the strike.
The Fire Brigades Union said it has timed the strikes so that celebrations on Bonfire Night and the Saturdays before and after November 5 - the most popular times for firework displays - can take place.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said its emergency response service would be "severely reduced" because of the strike.
People have been warned not to stage fireworks displays tonight as firefighters in England and Wales go on strike today in a bitter row with the Government over pensions.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will walk out from 6.30pm to 11pm, and again for two hours from 6am next Monday, the day before Bonfire Night.
The union held a four-hour walkout last month, but called off another strike after it appeared a deal was in sight.
However, officials said the Government and fire employers had failed to offer any firm guarantees on jobs or pensions as a result of changes to the pension age from 55 to 60.
Firefighters across the region are taking part in a national strike tonight. The industrial action follows a row over their pensions.