General, Surrey County Council, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service

Key facts about the national fire strike

Ahead of this weekend’s national fire strike here are some key facts:

When are the fire strikes?

From 18:30 to 23:00 on Friday, 1 November 2013 and from 06:00 to 08:00 on Monday, 4 November 2013.

Why are the strikes happening?

The strikes are taking place because of a dispute between central Government and the Fire Brigades’ Union over proposed changes to firefighters’ pensions.

Wasn’t the last fire strike cancelled?

The last strike, scheduled for 19 October 2013, was postponed by the FBU.

What fire cover will there be during the FBU strikes?

Surrey County Council has a contingency contract with private company Specialist Group International (SGI) to keep our residents safe.

SGI’s crews have all completed the full 17-week firefighters training course which includes fighting a range of fires, wearing breathing apparatus and using specialist equipment to deal with vehicle accidents.

In addition, non-striking personnel will give emergency cover to increase the number of fire engines available.

How many fire engines and staff will be available compared to normal non-strike cover?

Final figures will be known when the strike begins.

During the last strike on 25 September 2013, there were 12 fire engines compared to around 22 normally. There were 86 staff overall on shift, comprising SGI, non-striking firefighters and other staff, compared to a minimum of 104 under non-strike conditions.

Will firefighters be locked out of stations and be unpaid for the whole shift?

Firefighters will be free to access fire stations during strike hours.

They will work and be paid as normal for the non-striking part of this Friday’s overnight shift, and the same applies to the non-striking part of the shift overnight from Sunday to Monday.

Will uniformed firefighters be allowed to picket outside their stations during the strike?

Striking firefighters can legitimately picket outside their place of work, but cannot wear uniform when not working.

Is there anything we can do to keep safe?

SGI and our non-striking firefighters will crew as many engines as we can on the day. However, there will be fewer fire engines than normal, so it’s important residents take extra care.

Will this impact on Guy Fawkes Night celebrations?

The Fire Service will respond to 999 calls. Organised Bonfire Night celebrations on Friday will go ahead as planned. We advise to always attend organised events.

Ahead of Bonfire Night celebrations, follow the Firework Code and review the fireworks FAQs available on the county council’s website.

 

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