South Yorkshire fifirefighters warning of more strikes

Striking firefighters outside Sheffield's Eyre Street Fire Station.
Striking firefighters outside Sheffield's Eyre Street Fire Station.
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A South Yorkshire firefighters’ union leader said he is ‘confident’ that crews will walk out on strike again following yesterday’s four-hour stoppage.

Fire crews across the county walked out from noon to 4pm as part of the first national strike in more than a decade, sparked by an escalating row over pensions.

Graham Wilkinson, Fire Brigades Union chairman in South Yorkshire, said there was a ‘strange mood’ outside the central fire station in Sheffield as crew members walked out on strike.

“They’re not happy with the situation, but they were uplifted that so many turned up who were off duty,” Mr Wilkinson said.

“I’m fairly confident there will be more strikes. I don’t believe the Government will get round the negotiating table.”

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue had around eight fire engines and four small incident units to cover the whole county during the walkout.

Contingency firefighters were called out to just a handful of incidents.

A cooker fire broke out at a house on Lees Hall Avenue, in Woodseats, Sheffield, but was out when the crew arrived. A woman in her 20s was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.

A small incident unit was also sent to a fire on an industrial estate in Darfield, Barnsley.

Officers went to a crash involving a car and a motorbike at Flouch, Barnsley, and freed a distressed pensioner locked in the toilet at home in Intake, Sheffield.

There were two false alarms and five automated alerts from businesses, none of which the fire service needed to attend.

Chief fire officer Jamie Courtney said: “I want to thank people for listening to our plea to keep 999 calls low.

“While I was satisfied with the contingency arrangements, I am relieved there were no incidents more serious than those we attended and now hope the union and the Government can negotiate a swift end to this dispute.”