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Guildford Fire Station Deserted During Strike and Lockout

Published on: 26 Sep, 2013
Updated on: 26 Sep, 2013
Deserted Fire Station 1

Guildford fire station on Wednesday, September 25, at 1230pm – apparently deserted.

Guildford fire station appeared deserted yesterday on a day that firefighters staged a four-hour walk out to protest about plans to increase the retirement age.

There was no response when the bell labelled ‘enquiries’ was pressed and no one could be seen in any part of the station.

No one to be seen at the rear...

No one to be seen at the rear…

Firefighters had expressed their ‘extreme concern’ over Surrey Fire & Rescue Service’s plans for Wednesday’s strike and described central government pensions proposals as ‘unsafe, unfair and unworkable’ .

Surrey Fire & Rescue Service decided to prevent striking firefighters from accessing fire stations for the duration of the whole of Wednesday’s day shift leaving the county without most of its fire and rescue workforce for a nine-hour period.

... or any part of the station

… or any part of the station.

There have been no reports of any problems in Guildford caused by the strike and lock-out.

South East banner (small)Jim Parrott, who represents the South East on the Fire Brigades Union’s (FBU) executive council
said before the action: “We are extremely concerned about the implications of this decision for our members and the people of Surrey.

“The decision is completely unnecessary and displays an aggressive disregard for common sense. We certainly don’t want this situation to erupt into a local dispute but there is a limit to how far the staff will be bullied and intimidated.

“The fire authority must change its stance and adhere to national guidance as other fire authorities have done.”

A national agreement is in place with government and employers for firefighters to be able to volunteer to return to work during disputes in the event of a major incident such as terrorism.

However the decision to prevent firefighters from accessing stations meant that this agreement would have been impossible to implement in Surrey. Instead the Fire Brigades Union said that firefighters, threatened with charges of gross misconduct if they attend their fire station, would have been unable prepare in time in the event of a major incident.

Recent guidance from the National Fire and Rescue Service Employers had advised fire and rescue services to allow firefighters to work and be paid for the rest of their shifts on Wednesday.

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