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Essex: Firefighters announce five days of strikes
12:12pm Thursday 21st June 2012 in News
Fire crews in Essex have announced five days of strike action in a dispute over cuts.
Industrial action will take place on June 28, July 7, July 18, August 18 and October 18, according to the Fire Brigades Union.
The union said that Essex will have lost one in five frontline firefighters since 2008 if the current round of planned cuts go ahead.
It claims that response times to house fires are now taking longer and specialist rescue equipment is not as readily available.
A statement from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) said more than 100 Essex firefighters have declared their availability during times of severe staff shortages.
Assistant chief fire officer Dave Bill said: “Clearly the best result for all sides and for the Essex community is for no strike action to take place and for the union to accept the offer of mediation.
“We remain confident that the FBU will attend talks with ACAS on Monday.
“However, the service has a responsibility to ensure the safety of our communities and that is a responsibility we take seriously and one we are not prepared to leave to chance with the threat of strike action looming.”
Alan Chinn-Shaw, Essex FBU chair, said: “This is about cuts to frontline firefighters and changes imposed on firefighters.
“We’ve had enough and the cuts are now directly impacting on public and firefighter safety.
“The issues are about cuts and imposed and unjustified changes and these need to be addressed. The fire authority must either address the concerns or there will be strike action.”