Region braced for more fire strikes

FIREFIGHTERS' leaders warned last night fresh strikes would be called unless there was a "significant" change of heart from the Government during crucial talks today.

FIREFIGHTERS' leaders warned last night fresh strikes would be called unless there was a "significant" change of heart from the Government during crucial talks today.

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) officials will meet Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott for the first time since he announced controversial moves to impose a pay settlement.

The talks, to be held at Mr Prescott's offices in Whitehall, raised hopes of some movement in the deadlocked pay row.

But the union made it clear last night further strikes would be called if the Government stuck to its line of wanting the fire service modernised in return for a higher pay rise.

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The union also claimed the cost of the dispute had now reached £90 million, which it maintained would have been enough to pay for a 16% pay rise over two years. The deal which was scuppered by the Government before Christmas.

FBU general secretary Andy Gilchrist criticised the Government for intervening in the dispute and said the union had been reasonable in calling off a number of strikes so that talks could be held.

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"Perhaps the time to be a little less than reasonable is here. As long as firefighters are treated with contempt, there will be strikes and there will be more strikes," he added.

Troops provided emergency cover over the weekend because of the latest 48-hour strike, which ends at 9am today.

Among the incidents they attended in East Anglia, a Green Goddess crew had to cut the doors off a Toyota Starlet to free the driver – a 49-year-old woman from Colchester, who suffered a bruised chest and stomach – following a collision in Maldon Road, Birch, on Sunday afternoon.

The other car in the accident was a Vauxhall Astra driven by a 64-year-old man from Tiptree, who also suffered bruising, while his wife was taken to hospital with a suspected broken hand.

The road was closed for about an hour while emergency crews dealt with the wreckage. Anyone with information about the accident should contact Pc Darren Potts, of Stanway traffic police, on 01206 762512.




9.50am Mersea Road, Colchester – Two-year-old locked in a bathroom. Red Goddess from Colchester attended, but the child had been released by the time it arrived.

10.30am Bradford Street, Chelmsford – Woman, 81, locked out of her house. One Green Goddess from Chelmsford attended and helped her back inside.

11.22am Cedar Avenue, Chelmsford – One Green Goddess called to free an elderly man stuck in a lift.

5.50pm Courtauld Road, Braintree - One Green Goddess called to an automatic fire alarm at an office block, but it was a false alarm.


3.12pm Maldon Road, Colchester – One Green Goddess from Colchester called to a road traffic accident and helped free a motorist trapped in the wreckage, who received medical assistance from paramedics.



9.46am Trinity Close, Kesgrave – Car fire. Red Goddess and Breathing Apparatus Rescue Team


10.03am Nestle Purina PetCare factory, Chilton Industrial Estate Sudbury. One Green Goddess from Sudbury attended. False alarm.

10.20am Report of car fire on A14 – One Red Goddess and one Breathing Apparatus Rescue Team

from Bury St Edmunds eventually found a lorry on fire on the A11 at Little Saxham. The cab was full of smoke and crews dealt with the fire, but were later called back to the scene after it reignited.

11.02am Chalk Terrace, Ixworth – One Green Goddess and one Rescue Equipment Support Team

called to a chimney fire, but it had gone out by the time they arrived.

4.41pm Hill Top Way, Stanton - One Green Goddess and Breathing Apparatus Rescue Team crew from Bury St Edmunds called to reports of a house fire. The call was a hoax made by a child at a phone box and the police are investigating.


12.23am Horringer Road, Bury St Edmunds – One Green Goddess from Bury St Edmunds called to assist police to right an overturned car.

4.54pm Little Dodd Nash Farm, Bentley – One Red Goddess and one Breathing Apparatus Rescue Team called to tackle a curtain on fire at a house.

5.44pm Cumberland Towers, Norwich Road Ipswich – One Green Goddess called to a false alarm.

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