ESSEX, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - June 28, 2012) - Essex fire crews have solidly supported an 8-hour strike today in opposition to frontline cuts and other changes forced through by service managers. Public support at pickets and other protests has been tremendous, with many donating money to the hardship fund.
Retained crews were at their stations to set up picket lines to show their support. Retained firefighters work 'on call' and would not normally be at the station unless they were being turned out to a 999 call.
The union says today has demonstrated massive service-wide discontent at frontline cuts and imposed changes.
ACAS confirm fire service managers have now removed their blocks to further talks offered by ACAS. All parties have now accepted an ACAS invitation to attend exploratory talks next week.
Alan Chinn-Shaw, FBU brigade chair said: "There has been solid support for this strike and the public have been fantastic in their support. Retained crews made a point of setting up picket lines although there was no need to be in attendance at their stations at all.
"The blockages put in the way of getting the key fire service national negotiators involved in attempts to resolve this dispute have now been lifted. Their involvement has been vetoed by the chief officer for nearly three years.
"Exploratory talks called by ACAS will now take place next week. This is an important step in the right direction and we are disappointed it has taken a ballot and strike to achieve that.
"This strike is about cuts and imposed changes. Essex fire service has the funds, these cuts and changes are not necessary."