Seasonal strikes by firefighters

By David Newble

Monday, December 23, 2013


Seasonal strikes by firefighters

Firefighters on strike at Ryde Fire Station back in November. Picture by Laura Holme.

ISLANDERS are being asked to be extra vigilant as members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) take part in strike action on two of their busiest days of the year.

FBU members are set to down tools between 7pm and 12am tomorrow (Christmas Eve) and 6.30pm and 12.30am on New Year’s Eve, as part of a long-running dispute with the government over pensions.

The two stoppages are the longest periods of strike action announced since industrial action in the dispute began, putting increased pressure on contingency plans.

At Christmas, there is a greater risk of fire due to the increased amount of combustible items in homes such as Christmas trees and decorations.

People are being warned never to leave burning candles unattended, to switch electrical items off when not in use, and to take extra care when cooking late at night, particularly if under the influence of alcohol.

With very limited fire cover on New Year’s Eve, people are being advised not to let off fireworks. If people plan to do so, then extra care and all necessary precautions should be taken.

Fireworks should be lit away from properties and buckets of water should be kept nearby.

People are also being advised to place used fireworks in a bucket of soil and wear suitable protection such as gloves when handling fireworks.

During strike action, cover will be maintained by non-FBU members who will attend life critical incidents such as house fires or road traffic incidents. People should continue to dial 999 in an emergency.

Steve Apter, chief fire officer, said: "Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are two of the busiest times of the year for fire services across the country and I would urge everyone to be extra cautious.

"Although the Island will have fire cover for both evenings and FBU members will also attend life critical incidents, the service will be reduced during the strike periods and we cannot guarantee a response to all calls."

A third day of strike action will take place on January 3 between 6.30 to 8.30am.

Information about the Island’s fire and rescue safety advice for homes and businesses can be found at

The council has also uploaded fire safety videos on its YouTube channel which can be seen by going to



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Displaying the last 10 of 20 comments - Show All Comments

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by alan naylor

29th December 2013, at 09:49:38

Fire fighters are very well regarded and appreciated here a lot of fire fighters lives lost in forest fires this year North California over the years fires have claimed more deaths than anything else and when you say staff you are comparing them to pen pushers and shop workers not in the same league If your house was on fire who would you want to turn up A fire fighter or your local member of parliament think about it

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by Den Young

26th December 2013, at 09:02:36

ah Alan hence the time thing, so how much do you pay for amenities in you neck of the woods? and would the staff withdraw their labour and put the general public in danger?

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by alan naylor

26th December 2013, at 08:35:47

Im in the southern hemisphere Den in the warm your day is our night and they wont if its for peanuts

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by Den Young

25th December 2013, at 09:09:44

Alan couldn't you sleep? I never moaned about £30 a week that wasn't the gripe, the gripe was people not doing what they are paid to do, that's it in a Christmas nutshell.

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by alan naylor

25th December 2013, at 03:33:47

With the record of 1 vehicle accidents on the island due to the desperate road conditions I should think you all need a fire service and as regards Dens $30 a week that covers fire schools roads rubbish collecting Hes got it all cheap about a round of drinks now

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by Den Young

24th December 2013, at 16:07:30

no im not but I bet you are labour

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by John Kneeshaw

24th December 2013, at 16:02:15

I, I, I, me, me, me,

Not a Tory by any chance are you?

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by Den Young

24th December 2013, at 15:59:02

I cant see why apoligies are required and why I should look into the whys and wherefors of the situations my comments are not about those, my comments are directed at people that withdraw public safety which they are also under contract to fullfill, I pay personally over £1400 a year towards this and other services that's what the gripe is, happy Christmas

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by John Kneeshaw

24th December 2013, at 15:27:23

Does anyone think that Mr Young will apologise for his disgusting comments once he realises that this is about people who have been told that they can not retire until a lot later than they were originally contracted? People who are prepared to risk their own safety in order to protect the safety and property of others. People who have taken real terms pay cuts for many years. People who may just have reached the end of their patience with an uncaring employer.

Let's wait and see.

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by L Simons

24th December 2013, at 09:32:20

DY, once again a very naive comment from you, this dispute is not about firefighters wanting to do their job. You need to avail yourself with all the facts before making emotive posts.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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