Fire strike is called off at eleventh hour

The Alma Tavern, Wellgate, Rotherham
The Alma Tavern, Wellgate, Rotherham
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Firefighters in South Yorkshire have postponed strike action which they were due to take part in tonight.

Crew members were due to walk out between 6.30pm and 11.30pm in an ongoing dispute over pensions.

Fire chiefs had warned response times to emergency calls tonight would have suffered – with just eight fire engines available to cover the county instead of the usual 27.

The Fire Brigades Union postponed the national industrial action yesterday afternoon, saying ‘progress’ had been made in talks with the Government.

Graham Wilkinson, South Yorkshire FBU spokesman, said: “The strike has been postponed because the Government have had discussions with the FBU this week and there looks like there could be some movement on one of the issues – it looks like there could now be protection for firefighters over 55 deemed unfit for firefighting.

“However, this is not concrete yet as all the fire authorities have to agree first and there are other issues that need to be resolved, so this is a postponement of action rather than a cancellation.”

Mr Wilkinson said firefighters do not find strike action easy.

He said: “You never feel good going on strike, it hits your conscience, but it’s about protecting the fire service.”