FIREFIGHTERS have announced more strikes as part of their national dispute over pensions - including Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union today revealed further dates for industrial action over the festive period.
They will strike from 7pm to midnight on Christmas Eve, 6.30pm on New Year’s Eve until 12.30am on New Year’s Day, and 6.30am to 8.30am on Friday, January 3.
Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: “The service has plans in place to offer a limited response service during industrial action.
“These plans have been in place for a number of years, and we put them into action during periods of industrial action by the FBU on 25 September, 1 and 14 November and 13 and 14 December.
“They are based on a reduced number of appliances, strategically placed across Tyne and Wear according to risk and the ability to maintain the best speed of response.
“As ever, our appliances are available to attend incidents across the whole of Tyne and Wear, and their attendance at incidents will be prioritised according to the risk to life and property.
“Trained fire service officers and staff we have recruited and trained in recent months will drive and staff a number of our appliances.
“This includes staff the service has temporarily recruited who were successful during our last recruitment campaign process, but for whom there were no vacancies at the time, and recently-retired firefighters.
“It also includes former military and specialist personnel.
“This plan is not designed to replicate the excellent service our firefighters provide every day of the week.
“However, it is designed to provide a core operational service in the event of industrial action.
“We hope that talks between the two parties will continue and that the industrial action can still be avoided.
“We would like to ask the public to take extra care with fire safety during the period of strike action, and to ensure they have working smoke alarms on each level of their property and that they check them.
“We want to ensure residents have an escape plan, and that everyone in the house knows what to do in the event of a fire.
“We would encourage businesses and organisations to ensure their fire risk assessment is up to date, and that their staff know what to do in the event of a fire at work.
“We are working with partner organisations to help promote fire safety to residents, especially amongst people who are more vulnerable to having a fire.”