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24th OCTOBER 2002

STORY: EMMA EVANS
emma.evans@gwent-wales.co.uk


PHOTO: UNKNOWN

 
Another view of the Station  
 

AN AMMAN VALLEY county councillor believes that talks between the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and the Government will break down even further if strike action is taken on Friday.
   
       

BACKING FOR STRIKES

Cllr Hugh Evans said: “I really do hope that these talks this week will stop strike action on Friday, however I am not very optimistic.

“I can't see the Local government Association (LGA) and the FBU Coming up with a solution to this problem.

“If the FBU strike for eight days relations between them and the Government will be strained.”

Plaid Cymru have attacked the Government, claiming that they must stop being insincere and confrontational over public sector pay if the eight day fire strike is to be prevented.

Cllr Alun Llewelyn, county councillor for Ystalyfera and AM candidate for Neath Port Talbot, strongly believes that the Government's inaction and blocking tactics have contributed hugely to the crisis in the fire service.

He said: “The London-based media and politicians have taken a mainly hostile approach to the pay claim, but firefighters themselves have a case that needs to be heard.

“There is still the chance of a realistic settlement with real progress on pay rates before this week's strike takes place,”

Since the first strike action on November 13, in excess of 57 calls were received by operators at the Mid and West Wales joint control center.

The Fire Brigades Union believe that the Green Goddesses are doing their best in light of the current circumstances.

Richard Simpson, spokesman for the RAF, who are manning some of the Green Goddesses, said: “We are coping really well, there have been no major incidents and the guys are doing their best with the resources available.”

However, firefighters are devastated that they may have to take strike action for the second time.

Nick Dodd, spokesman for the FBU said: “in July of this year Robin Cook defended the 40 per cent pay increase the MP's received.

“He said, I do not think we impress the public if we set too low a value on our own worth. If we believe our work is important, we should not shrink from putting a proper value on it.”

“Members are ready to strike on Friday if the situation is not resolved.”

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