Brentwood: Firefighters call off Olympics’ strike action
�Strike action by firefighters during the Olympics has been cancelled.
Fire Brigades Union members had planned to take industrial action on August 11 and 12, but have called it off as it clashes with an Olympic Mountain Bike event being held at Hadleigh Farm in Essex over that weekend.
The news comes as members, including Brentwood firefighters, were on strike from 4pm to 8pm yesterday (Thursday) and are expected to respond to 999 calls only today (Friday).
Although the August strikes are cancelled, proposed strikes for September 5 and October 18 are still set to go ahead.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said the move came after he received some “operationally sensitive” information about service plans for the Olympic event.
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Last week, the union called a number of strikes over the next few months over their long-running dispute to cut frontline 999 services.
In a statement Mr Wrack said: “The action we originally called was deliberately timed to ensure no disruption to 999 services during the actual hours of day the Olympic mountain bike event is due to be taking place.
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“It has always been our priority to try and limit the impact of any industrial action on public safety – our dispute is with those who are cutting the frontline service and not with the people of Essex.
“But this weekend I received some operationally sensitive information about fire and rescue planning for the event that I think had the potential to cause some confusion to 999 services if the industrial action I called went ahead.”
Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley said: “I can only applaud the Fire Brigades Union in again deciding to reduce the strike dates – this is a clear indication that officials are prepared to work with us to reduce the impact on our firefighters and to maintain the reputation of the service as an efficient, professional organisation.
“I am also delighted that the thousands of visitors coming to Essex for the Hadleigh Olympics weekend will see the fire service at its best.
“I am pleased to confirm that there has since been a dialogue between both parties with a view to commencing more formal discussions.”