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STRIKE IMMINENT FOR FIREFIGHTERS




12th SEPTEMBER 2002

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


PHOTO: NO PHOTO


PAY ROW: BUT PUBLIC SAFETY IS NOT AT ANY RISK

FIREFIGHTERS in the Amman and Towy valley's have vowed that public safety will not be compromised if the Fire Brigade Union ballots for strike action.

Firefighters across the UK are threatening to strike sometime in October if their pay demands are not met.

This is the first time they have threatened to strike since 1977.

Sub Officer Jamie Rees, of Ammanford Fire Station, told the Guardian that the union is to be recalled on Thursday, September 12, to ballot for strike action after employers rejected the 39 per cent pay rise they have been calling for.

He said: “We just want our wage to be compatible with other emergency services. We were all shocked that our employers would consider such a low amount.

“The wage can't be that good because many of our officers who have a family to look after, receive state benefits to subsidies their pay.”

Mr. Rees told the Guardian that the firefighters may continue to do their duty during the strike on a Work to Rule basis.

This will mean that they will continue to deal with emergency 999 calls apart from secondary emergencies such as grass fires, but they will not carry out any administration work until the strike is over.

“If we do strike it will not be until October so by then the Government will have organised green goddesses to deal with emergencies,” he said. “We guarantee that we will not go against the grain of our job, our job is to protect the public from danger and we will continue to do so.”

Fire service minister nick raynsford said last week that an independent review into pay and modernisation could help settle the row.

The FBU has made clear that they are not prepared to get caught up in any such process. Strike action seem to be imminent.

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