Trowbridge firefighters take strike action
16 firefighters took to the picket line in Trowbridge today, as stations across the county were closed in a national strike.
The six on-duty crew members at the Hilperton Road station walked out from midday to 4pm to protest over pension arrangements, and were joined by off-duty colleagues from other stations and some senior officers.
Part-time retained firefighters in Melksham and Warminster were also on strike, forcing stations in both towns to close, but Westbury, Bradford on Avon and Corsham stations remained open.
Tony Littler, brigade chair of the Wiltshire branch of the Fire Brigades Union joined the crews on the picket outside the station.
He said: “It’s gone quite well. There is some good support, a lot of horns going and people waving, and an hour in I think we had just the one negative comment.”
The strike was called by the national union after negotiations broke down with fire minister Brandon Lewis over plans to increase the age firefighters receive their pension, from 55 to 60, and Mr Littler refused to rule out further action in Wiltshire.
He said: “No firefighter wants to go on strike, and we’re doing this very reluctantly.
“If Brandon Lewis is willing to go back into negotiations we will talk with him, but if not we will have to make a decision, and I am pretty sure we will decide to take further action.”
Cover was provided during the strike by non-union members in the remaining stations, with back-up appliances on stand-by in Melksham and Warminster.
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