Dacorum fire fighters have taken part in a national strike today in a row over pensions.
Crews at Hemel Hempstead’s fire station on Queensway walked out at noon and took part in a Fire Brigades Union demonstration in Watford to raise awareness of the cuts to the service. Other team members took part in a rally in St Albans during the four-hour strike.
Retained crews took the decision to support the Fire Brigades Union strike, despite the fact that the dispute over the changes – which will see fire fighters’ retirement age raised from 50 to 60 – will not directly affect them.
Green Watch commander at the Queensway base Greig Bescoby said: “We don’t want to strike, we want to be at work providing the service we normally provide. But in the hours we are taking this industrial action we would advise people to take care, drive safely and would reassure them that our normal, professional service will be resumed.”
Fire fighter Dan Bathurst added: “Our fight isn’t with the public, it is with the government.”
In total six incidents took place across the county during the strike, including a kitchen fire in Hemel Hempstead which was already out by the time the nearest available crews attended. A safety check was carried out and a smoke alarm was fitted in the property.
Richard Thake, Herts County Council cabinet member for community safety, said: “Despite fewer resources being available during the FBU strike action period, all incidents were attended to and dealt with appropriately.
“We hope no further strike action will be taken and that there is a speedy resolution to this dispute in the interests of all concerned. Strike action in a key public service like this can only be to the detriment of Hertfordshire’s residents.”
Chief fire officer Roy Wilsher said: “The contingency plans that were put in place have stood up well. Crews who remained at work did an excellent job and we have been delighted by their dedication and commitment.”