Firefighters in Wales return after strike action

Firefighters in Wales and England have returned to normal service after striking twice this weekend. The Fire Brigades Union is in a dispute with the Government over pensions.

Fire services 'back to normal'

Fire services in Wales have returned to normal after a four hour walk-out yesterday.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union staged their sixth strike since September in a row over pensions with the UK government.

South Wales Fire Service said it received multiple calls from people affected by floods in the Rhondda and contingency plans were put in place.

One woman in Anglesey was taken to hospital after inhaling smoke which badly damaged her house.

North Wales Fire Service said they were called to a house fire in Cemaes Bay, Anglesey at 9.36pm.

The occupier was able to get out but there was substantial damage to the property.

An investigation has been launched.

Chief Fire Officer Simon Smith of North Wales Fire Service said:

"There was obviously a reduction in the resources that we had at our disposal. However, our business continuity plans were put into operation effectively.”

Throughout the strike period Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service was operating at around 75% availability.

It attended a number of incidents including flooding at a property in Swansea and a kitchen fire in Ammanford.

Fire brigade strike for a second day

Firefighters in Wales move into the second day of their two-day strike later, over their dispute with the Government over pensions.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union will walk out again tonight between 6pm and 10pm.

It's now been almost two months since the government has been willing to meet us for negotiations despite several invitations from us.

Until they do and until they start to actually resolve the dispute, we'll keep up the pressure for the sake of public safety and our members' pensions.

In a week when the full details of a £7,600 pay rise for MPs' - which will also increase their pensions - emerged, firefighters' anger at the governments unworkable, unaffordable and unfair proposals will be even greater.

No firefighter wants to strike, but we cannot allow the government's ludicrous proposals - and outright hypocrisy - to stand. We'll keep on fighting until the government sees sense and comes back to its negotiations.

– Matt Wrack, General Secretary, Fire Brigades Union

The Welsh Government said it's working with fire and rescue authorities and the UK Government to minimise the impact of this weekend's strike.

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Welsh Government 'working to minimise strike impact'

The Welsh Government says it is working with fire and rescue authorities and the UK Government to minimise the impact of this weekend's strike.

Firefighter pensions are devolved to Welsh Ministers under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004; however our ability to diverge from the UK-wide arrangements is limited by HM Treasury policy.

Welsh Ministers have regularly met the FBU regarding pension issues and we have been clear on our commitment to public service pension schemes which are affordable, sustainable and fair to all public service workers.

The Fire Brigades' Union stated its intention to seek further dialogue with Ministers to resolve the dispute over pensions. Our discussions with the FBU have been positive and constructive.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

Firefighters strike again in ongoing pensions dispute

Firefighters in Wales and England will strike for the fifth and sixth time this weekend in an ongoing dispute with the Government over pensions.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union will walk out for four hours - from 6pm until 10pm tonight, and tomorrow night.

They have already been on strike four times since September.

The Union accused the Government of 'ignoring' concerns about increasing pension contributions.

They also fear firefighters will lose their jobs if they fail fitness tests because of the raised pension age.