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Lancashire firemen vow to continue action

The pickets outside Preston Fire Station on Friday night

The pickets outside Preston Fire Station on Friday night

​A ​fresh wave of strikes by firemen passed without major incident in Lancashire as union leaders pledged more action would follow.

Fire Brigades Union members have now taken strike action six times in recent months in protest at changes to pensions and their retirement age, which the union argues threatens older firefighters with losing their jobs or having reduced pensions.

FBU members walked out from 6pm to 10pm on Friday and Saturday and the union has warned that further action is likely in the New Year.

The union says firefighters​​ in their late 50s face the prospect of being sacked or seeing their pension reduced by almost half.

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue said: “The majority of our fire engines remained operational for the duration of the strike.”

​Contingency crews attended six incidents on Saturday night, including fires lit in rubbish in Blackburn and Preston​; a report of sparks coming from a light fitting in a house in Clayton-le-Moors; removing a sign board dislodged by the wind and posing a hazard in Lytham St Annes; an automatic fire alarm call in Preston; and a call to a report of a smoke alarm sounding at a house in Clitheroe.

During the Friday night stoppage,crews dealt with nine incidents.

They included a kitchen fire in Padiham where the occupant was treated for the effects of smoke inhalation; a fire in the bathroom of a house in Darwen; an automatic fire alarm in premises in Lancaster; a chimney fire at a house in Shuttleworth; and a fire in a wooden shelter in a St Annes park.

Steve Harman, secretary of the Lancashire FBU, said: “The resolve of Lancashire firefighters is as strong if not stronger than ever.

“There will be further action in the New Year.”

Meanwhile, a man died in a blaze in north London during the strike.

Fire crews were called to a ground floor flat in Oakfield Road, Harringay, just before 10pm on Saturday.​​

The strike had no impact on the outcome, the London Fire Brigade said.

 

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