Wiltshire fire strike receives support
A group of 16 firefighters took to the picket line in Trowbridge on Wednesday, 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. Westbury, Bradford on Avon and Corsham stations remained open.
Tony Littler, brigade chairman 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. 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.”
No fires were reported in west Wiltshire during the strike, with back-up crews across the county responding to two minor calls in Salisbury and Swindon.
Chief Fire Officer Simon Routh-Jones said: “I am obviously very pleased that we have had a quiet afternoon, and my thanks go to those firefighters who continued to work through the strike.”
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