Rugby firefighters speak out after spending four hours on the picket line during strike

Firefighters spent four hours on the official picket line outside Rugby Fire Station today.

The firefighters went out on strike from midday until 4pm this afternoon in an ongoing national dispute between the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and the Government over proposed changed to pensions.

FBU Official Picket at Rugby Fire Station in September 2013

FBU Official Picket at Rugby Fire Station in September 2013

Gary Phillips, Deputy Chief Fire Officer of Warwickshire, said: “We have now come to the end of today’s industrial action in the national dispute between the Government and the Fire Brigades Union.

“This was a short four hour strike and we have been fortunate today that we have attended only a small number of incidents with no loss of life or significant damage to premises.

“I would stress that if there had been a major incident then that would have caused us serious concern. We had a reduced number of fire engines, no specialist equipment and, with fewer staff, this would have led to delayed response times as we did not have normal cover during strike period.

“I put today’s success, of keeping the people of Warwickshire safe, down to two critical factors: Firstly the business continuity plans that we have been working hard and training for and, thanks to staff, who turned up to duty as we recognise that our 999 responses today were only possible because of our staff.

“I would also like to thank the public for taking extra care and heeding safety precaution warnings during the strike action.

“We are now awaiting further news from the national Fire Brigades Union on the next steps in terms of their dispute with the Government. My view, and one that I think most of us share, is that I hope there can be a swift resolution to the negotiations so that protracted industrial action does not become necessary.”