Firefighters’ strike was a damp squib

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The much publicised firefighters’ strike yesterday (Wednesday) was a damp squib, as far as Milton Keynes was concerned.

Dozens of firefighters picketed outside city fire stations between 12 noon and 4pm to protest about proposed changes to their pensions.

Bucks Fire and Rescue bosses assured residents that enough non-striking crews were on hand to deal with any fires during the four-hour period.

But the only incident turned out to be an automatic fire alarm going off at the Europa Business Park on Kingston.

Fire bosses had warned the public to be vigilant and avoid fire risk situations during the afternoon.

A spokesman said: “We thank the people of Milton Keynes for taking note of this. It was a very quiet afternoon.”

The national strike – the first in a decade – was in protest to the Government’s expectation that firefighters in their late 50s will still be able to fight fires and undergo the physical demands of the job.

One of the crew picketing the Bletchley station said that although he regretted having to strike, it was vital that firefighters were treated fairly by the government.

He explained: “The simple way to explain why we have to do it is by asking whether you’d expect a 60-year-old to be climbing up ladders and carrying people over their shoulders.

“If they can’t do that and then lose their jobs over it they won’t be able to get a pension – it’s simply not fair.”