Reservists and regular crew fight major blaze on third day of strikes

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RESERVE and non-striking firemen joined forces to tackle a major blaze at a recycling plant in Hull.

The fire, which produced a dense plume of black smoke that could be seen from miles away, came on the third day of strikes amid a long-running dispute with the Government over pensions.

At its height 36 firefighters were fighting the blaze which involved compacted paper, using two pumps and an aerial platform dowsing the flames from above.

Humberside Fire and Rescue said they would remain at the scene at Taylor’s Environmental, off Hedon Road, until the fire, reported at 12.48, in the middle of the strike, had burned itself out.

They said there was no danger to the public from the smoke, and despite the strike had managed to have crews on scene within 12 minutes.

The blaze came as the Fire Brigades Union called on the Government to stop “playing games” and renew efforts to resolve the dispute.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “Yet again firefighters have shown the strength of their anger over government attacks on their pensions and have been united in standing up for a fair, workable and affordable deal.

“It’s very disappointing that we’ve been forced to hold another three days of strikes but nothing will deflect firefighters’ resolve when the future of their families - and the fire and rescue service itself - is at stake.

“Surely it’s now time for their games to stop and common sense to prevail?”

A Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “The deal on the table gives firefighters one of the most generous pension schemes in all the public sector, and the proposals protect the earned rights of a higher proportion of members than any other public sector scheme. Nearly three-quarters will see no change in their pension age in 2015.”