Chief fire officers condemn second wave of strikes by Mersey firefighters

The Chief Fire Officers’ Association has condemned as “cynical and irresponsible” the industrial action being taking by the Fire Brigades Union in Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

The service has said it needs to make savings of £3.5m, partly through voluntary retirement and the closure of some vacant posts. The Fire Brigades Union said 120 jobs will be lost – a claim disputed by managers.

Firefighters are currently staging a second eight-day strike in protest at changes to working practices and job cuts. At the outset of the dispute they held two four-day strikes at the beginning of September.

The Chief Fire Officers’ Association accused the Fire Brigades Union of using the people of Merseyside as pawns in an attempt to force local managers to comply with their demands.

Phil Toase, president of the Chief Fire Officers’ Association, said: “I urge the union representatives to return to the negotiating table and resolve these issues in a proper manner. Nothing should interfere with the extensive programme of modernisation which has been designed to create a service, fit to meet the needs of a constantly changing environment.” 

Firefighters are scheduled to walk out again on 20 September as soon as the current strike ends.

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