Firefighters strike comes to an end

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West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s contingency crews have dealt with a steady stream of incidents during the final day of firefighter strike action.

Over the whole 96 hours since firefighter strike action began at 6pm October 31 to 6pm on Tuesday, WYFRS has received 553 calls and attended 261 incidents in total.

Some calls were duplicates and some were of a minor nature where advice could be given. No emergencies went unattended.

Contingency arrangements have comprised of around half the usual fleet of 53 fire engines and were strategically placed in areas of highest risk.

The crews have consisted of non-striking fully qualified firefighters and Community Response Operatives (CROs).

CROs have been especially recruited for the role during industrial action and have been given three weeks’ basic training in fire and rescue response.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Steve Rhodes said: “We have become busier as the day has gone on today and there have been a couple of serious house fires this afternoon.

“There has also been a number of nuisance calls such as fires in the open which unfortunately put unnecessary demand on our available resources.

“Over the complete 96 hours of industrial action our contingency crews have been challenged by a busy period in the run-up to Bonfire Night.

“They have dealt with a range of incidents including serious road traffic collisions and house fires where people have required rescuing, as well as more minor incidents ranging from lift rescues to rubbish fires.

“The Fire Authority applauds the crews for their hard work over the 96 hour period and tireless efforts to keep West Yorkshire safe.”

The decision for strike action relates to an on-going dispute between the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and the Government over its public sector pension reform programme.

In particular current proposals to introduce a new Firefighters’ Pension Scheme from April 2015 to replace the two current pension schemes that most operational personnel are members of.

This draws to a close the 47th period of industrial action since September last year.