Government must resolve firefighters’ dispute

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From: Councillors Ken King, Neil Barnes and Fiona Fitzpatrick, York Labour Members of North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority, Northallerton.

OVER the Bank Holiday weekend, firefighters were once again on strike in protest against Government-imposed changes to pensions and their retirement age.

As York Labour members of the North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority, we have previously expressed our regret at the ongoing dispute and wrote to Brandon Lewis MP, the Fire Minster, asking for a speedy resolution. Frankly, the Government’s response has been entirely unsatisfactory – both to firefighters and the general public.

Fire authorities have strong, robust contingency plans, but the Government’s insistence on refusing to listen to the concerns of firefighters is wearing our patience thin.

Firefighters are dedicated individuals and committed to public safety, only striking as 
a very last resort when confronted by an obstinate Government threatening their future.

For the sake of continued public safety, ideologically-led resistance to valid union concerns must not play a part in a dispute that impacts on public wellbeing.