General

Key facts ahead of this weekend’s national fire strikes

Ahead of the fifth and sixth national fire strikes that are happening this week here are some key facts:

When is the fire strike?
From 6pm to 10pm on Friday 13 December and 6pm to 10pm on Saturday 14 December 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.

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 strikes begin.

During the last strike on 13th November 2013, there were 12 fire engines avaliable compared to around 20 normally. The staff on shift during the strike period comprised SGI, non-striking firefighters and other staff.

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 Friday’s and Saturday’s shifts.

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.

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