Campaign of strikes has 'traumatised' fire service staff

Campaign of strikes has 'traumatised' fire service staff

Councillor Derek Prodger, chairman of the fire service

First published in News Malvern Gazette: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

THE chairman of Worcestershire’s fire authority has revealed his anguish over this summer’s strikes – admitting he is “worried” they have dragged on and says they have “traumatised” staff.

Councillor Derek Prodger, the Conservative in charge of the fire service, says the Government has to resolve the dispute to avoid more damaging walkouts around bonfire night and throughout the winter.

He also told your Worcester News he was prepared to meet with new fire minister Penny Mordaunt if need be to try and broker a solution.

It comes as firefighters across the country have gone on strike 40 times already this year, with the last round in Worcester coming to an end in mid-August.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has refused to offer any guarantees its members won’t walk out again later this year.

Cllr Prodger said: “It’s been very difficult for the staff, the firefighters, everyone involved and my only wish is for the government to have resolved this yesterday.

“The staff have been traumatised, and it’s only due to the dedication they have in allowing us to implement an emergency plan that we’ve been able to get through it.

“We have been lucky in that respect, but the Government has to resolve this.

“We are all waiting to see what happens next and what ideas the new minister has, I am always willing to talk to anyone about it, that includes MPs.”

The FBU met with Mrs Mordaunt last Friday to flesh out issues at the heart of the conflict.

Controversial plans include raising the retirement age among firefighters from 55 to 60 and increasing their pension contributions.

Last week’s meeting led to no agreement, but Mrs Mordaunt said she was “considering a number of issues" on pensions and is likely to finish her work the week of Monday, September 8.

Cllr Prodger has found himself under pressure from the fire authority’s Labour group in recent weeks, which wants him to intervene.

Councillor Richard Udall, Labour group leader, said: “As long as it continues, the cost to the local taxpayer for ensuring public safety increases and the public remain at greater risk from fire.”

Julian Jenkins, chairman of the county’s FBU branch, said: “Firefighters don’t want to go on strike, and that’s why the strikes have been spread out – but we are angry.

“I’ve lost patience with the Government."

Comments (5)

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7:33pm Sun 31 Aug 14

Hwicce says...

If there are "traumatised" then maybe it would be a good idea to stop doing it!

As they have been on strike 40 times this year it wouldn't seem to be having much effect anyway.
If there are "traumatised" then maybe it would be a good idea to stop doing it! As they have been on strike 40 times this year it wouldn't seem to be having much effect anyway. Hwicce
  • Score: 6

12:18am Mon 1 Sep 14

thompson9100 says...

I notice the FBU spokesperson didn't mention anything about striking staff being traumatised. Nice bit of tory spin not backed up by the facts. Solidarity to all those fire service staff standing up for what is right. Shake on WN for reporting like the dadaily mail.
I notice the FBU spokesperson didn't mention anything about striking staff being traumatised. Nice bit of tory spin not backed up by the facts. Solidarity to all those fire service staff standing up for what is right. Shake on WN for reporting like the dadaily mail. thompson9100
  • Score: 1

12:20am Mon 1 Sep 14

thompson9100 says...

thompson9100 wrote:
I notice the FBU spokesperson didn't mention anything about striking staff being traumatised. Nice bit of tory spin not backed up by the facts. Solidarity to all those fire service staff standing up for what is right. Shake on WN for reporting like the dadaily mail.
Shame on WN for reporting like the daily mail. Nothing new there though!
[quote][p][bold]thompson9100[/bold] wrote: I notice the FBU spokesperson didn't mention anything about striking staff being traumatised. Nice bit of tory spin not backed up by the facts. Solidarity to all those fire service staff standing up for what is right. Shake on WN for reporting like the dadaily mail.[/p][/quote]Shame on WN for reporting like the daily mail. Nothing new there though! thompson9100
  • Score: 5

10:35am Mon 1 Sep 14

Mike5305 says...

People prepared to risk their life at a moments notice to save the lives of others are worth every penny they earn and more. Shameful that this government even thinks about reducing their employment rights.
People prepared to risk their life at a moments notice to save the lives of others are worth every penny they earn and more. Shameful that this government even thinks about reducing their employment rights. Mike5305
  • Score: 1

12:27pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Rita Jelfs says...

'Across the board' policies such as expecting everyone, regardless of the level of physicality of their work, to continue working until 67, are badly thought out. Cllr Prodger says "the Government has to resolve this", then "we're waiting to see what happens next". I doubt he will be any use as a broker to a solution. It appears that after 40 strikes, nationally, the Government has finally met with the firefighters.
'Across the board' policies such as expecting everyone, regardless of the level of physicality of their work, to continue working until 67, are badly thought out. Cllr Prodger says "the Government has to resolve this", then "we're waiting to see what happens next". I doubt he will be any use as a broker to a solution. It appears that after 40 strikes, nationally, the Government has finally met with the firefighters. Rita Jelfs
  • Score: -2
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