Fire Strike In North Yorkshire and Humberside Tonight
11:46am 1st November 2013
(Updated 12:09pm 1st November 2013)
North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service wants everyone to remember bonfire night for the right reasons; with everyone having a safe and enjoyable time.
It's as firefighters across the country are set to strike again this evening and Monday morning over the government’s proposals on pensions.
The strikes will take place between 6.30pm and 11.00pm on Friday 1 November and 6am and 8am on Monday 4 November.
Fire Brigades Union General Secretary, 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 highlights that the schemes are unworkable and unaffordable.
“Firefighters want a pension scheme that takes account of the hazardous nature of the job as well as being affordable and workable for them and for the taxpayer.
“We hope these brief strikes will mean the government returns to negotiations so we can agree a sensible way forward.”
The FBU say it has timed the strikes so that celebrations on Bonfire Night and the Saturdays before and after 5 November, which are the most popular times for firework displays, can take place.
The Fire Brigades Union also say that they suspended industrial action due to take place on Saturday 19 October in an “act of good faith” after being led to believe in negotiations that the government was willing to offer a guarantee that firefighters whose fitness levels declined with age would not face being sacked (the ‘no job no pension’ issue).
However, add the union, fire service employers confirmed last week that this risk does exist for firefighters under the new arrangements.
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis has claimed, say the union, that firefighters have been given assurances by the fire and rescue services that they will not face the threat of ‘no job, no pension’ as they get older. However, the FBU has received written confirmation from representatives of the fire and rescue services that they are unable to provide such a guarantee.
The FBU say that ‘no job no pension issue’ is only one area of concern among many that they have raising with government for over two years.
Last week the government in Westminster signalled its intention to increase employee contributions in April 2014. This would mean the majority of firefighters will pay 14.2% of their salary in pension contributions with further potential increases on the way.
North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue say that they want people to enjoy this year’s Bonfire Night celebrations safely, and would urge people to go along to an organised event, where the fireworks are handled by professionals.
If you plan to celebrate with your own firework display/bonfire, following the simple tips below should help ensure your evening is a success, say North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.
- Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable.
- Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time.
- Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary.
- Light the firework at arm's length with a taper and stand well back.
- Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
- Never return to a firework once it has been lit.
- Don't put fireworks in pockets and never throw them.
- Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators.
- Build your bonfire downwind and well away from buildings, trees, bushes or other flammable materials.
- Clear away grass to form a circle of earth around the fire.
- Build the fire stack so than it collapses inward when burning.
- Watch for flying embers and sparks.
- Don't use petrol or paraffin to start the fire.
- Don't leave the fire unattended.
- Never throw aerosol or LPG containers on the fire.
- Ensure the fire is put out and cover the ashes with earth.
Humberside Fire & Rescue say their emergency response service will be reduced tonight (1 Nov), as members of the Fire Brigades Union take strike action from 6.30pm to 11.00pm. They are asking people to only attend organised fireworks events and move any bonfire night plans to Saturday instead.
There will be around 50% of operational resources available across the Humberside area with priority given to incidents where there is risk to life.
Allen Cunningham, Group Manager, Community Safety Central Support said "The Fire Service traditionally responds to a larger number of incidents over the bonfire weekend, with many of these call outs to small fires like rubbish fires and illegal bonfires which have got out of control. These can put pressure on our resources when there may be a greater need for us elsewhere."
Allen added “Because of the strike action we would be urging people to take extra care and be extra vigilant about their safety. Our best advice is to either attend an organised, public event or delay any celebrations until another night, following all of our usual advice to be extra vigilant and take extra care.”
The top tips for staying safe this bonfire period are:
Bonfires- attend a public display instead or hold your display on another night
Fireworks- store them securely and out of reach of children and follow instructions on the box
Displays- if you do hold your own event, keep bonfires and fireworks well away from buildings, sheds and trees
A second firefighters strike takes place on Monday 4 November 06.00 to 08.00hrs.
For more advice on reducing risk on Bonfire Night, visit www.humbersidefire.gov.uk or follow Twitter @HumbersideFire
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