Brentwood: Firefighters’ 24-hour strike over service cuts

Firefighters from Brentwood Station have gone on a 24-hour strike over service cuts.

Members of the Fire Brigade Union went on strike at 9am this morning, and will return at 9am tomorrow.

Union chiefs said the action, the third within a month, is because they will have lost one in five frontline firefighters since 2008 if planned cuts go ahead.

They added that this is a loss of 160 full time and retained firefighters.

Members have agreed to talks with reconcilitary service ACAS. FBU Brigade Chair Alan Chinn-Shaw said: “No one wants to go on strike; we have only done so in what is a third year of continuing cuts in frontline services and imposition.

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“Enough is enough. Strike action is a last resort and we are calling only short periods of lawful strike to limit the risks to the public whilst highlighting the very serious concerns of frontline professionals.

“Left unchallenged, the frontline cuts would hit public and firefighter safety 24 hours every day, 365 days a year.”

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The fire service has issued advice for people to call 999 in an emergency. They have resilience arrangements in place with 120 firefighters across Essex working with 30 officers and senior managers and retained crews. Service managers were due to meet with ACAS this morning about the dispute.

They added in a statement: “The public should continue to dial 999 in an emergency and ECFRS (Essex County Fire and Rescue Service) will respond. In case of fire you should get out, stay out and call us out.

“Before going to bed tonight, it’s worth checking your smoke alarm and make sure you check on elderly and vulnerable friends, family and neighbours.”

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