Members of the Fire Brigades Union have expressed their “extreme concern” over Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service’s plans for this weekend’s strikes.
Firefighters will walk out for three periods across the country over the weekend over “unsafe, unfair and unworkable” pensions proposals by central government.
However, the union says senior managers of the brigade in Buckinghamshire have decided to effectively “lock out” striking firefighters from fire stations for their whole shifts, meaning the county will be unnecessarily without most of its fire and rescue workforce for the duration.
Steve Allen, chairman of the Fire Brigades Union’s southern region, said: “Local firefighters are extremely worried about the implications of this nonsensical and unnecessary decision for our members and the communities of Buckinghamshire.
“Firefighters are striking very reluctantly over central government’s attacks on our pensions and it would be awful if the behaviour of the local brigade meant that a local dispute erupted too, but we won’t be bullied.”
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, who will visit picket lines in Buckinghamshire on Friday, said: “Common sense must prevail, and Buckinghamshire’s chief officer needs to understand that our members will not be intimidated.
“It’s remarkable that both the government and the fire service employers have remained silent on this worrying issue.
“Westminster needs to realise that this action by one rogue employer risks escalating the scale of industrial action across the country and threatens the safety agreements we have reached nationally.
“Buckinghamshire are the only brigade considering this ludicrous measure that is not in the interests of the firefighters, the communities we serve or the fire service itself.”
A national agreement is in place with government and employers for firefighters to be able to volunteer to return to work in the event of a major incident such as terrorism.
However, the chief fire officer’s decision to prevent firefighters from accessing stations will mean that this agreement will be impossible to implement in Buckinghamshire.
Guidance from the National Fire and Rescue Service Employers has advised fire and rescue services to allow firefighters to work and be paid for the rest of their shifts.
Read what the Chief Fire Officer has to say about the strikes by clicking the link