Fire service strike in South Yorkshire costs bosses £350,000

Firefighters strike outside the station on Eyre Street, Sheffield
Firefighters strike outside the station on Eyre Street, Sheffield
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Striking firefighters in South Yorkshire have cost their bosses £350,000.

Chiefs revealed the figure yesterday as firefighters staged their third walkout within a month in an ongoing dispute over pensions.

Crews took strike action between 6am and 8am, following a walkout on Friday.

Yesterday contingency firefighters received only one call - about a fatal collision on Doncaster Road, Hooton Roberts, Rotherham, involving a van and a lorry.

The driver of the van, a 22-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fire chiefs have spent £350,000 so far training up and paying an army of contingency firefighters to be available to work during periods of industrial action.

The paid volunteers are supporting fire service managers not in support of the strike.

South Yorkshire Fire Authority, which controls the county’s fire service budget, is using contingency reserves to pay for the emergency cover.

The fire authority set aside a £1 million pot of cash in February to help deal with major incidents including strikes, major flooding or huge fires over the year.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Every year the authority sets an earmarked contingency reserve to cover for unforeseeable events.

“The costs of these strikes are being funded from this contingency reserve.

“This is a dispute between the Government and firefighters at a national level.

“We repeat our calls for the Government and the Fire Brigades Union to come to an agreement as soon as possible, to bring an end to this dispute.”

The FBU called for strike action in a dispute over plans to make firefighters work until they are 60.

The union fears those deemed unfit for work will lose their jobs.