FIREFIGHTERS have returned to duty after 24-hour strike action.
Cleveland Fire Brigade’s operational response service has “returned to normal” following the industrial action, which ended at 9am on Wednesday.
The industrial action, which involved firefighters at Hartlepool’s Stranton Fire Station, was in relation to the Fire Brigade Union’s (FBU) national dispute over pensions with central Government.
The brigade had contingency arrangements in place to provide emergency cover during the disruption, which included having fully trained and experienced, professional firefighters supported by auxiliary firefighters.
Crews attended 19 call-outs during the industrial action.
Ian Hayton, Chief Fire Officer with Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “During the 24-hour strike period we dealt with a total of 19 incidents.
“The arrangements we had in place worked extremely well as we attended a range of incidents including a fire at a school, house fires, rubbish fires and a fuel spillage.
“Whilst our contingency arrangements never fully replace the 21 fire engines and professional firefighters normally available to the brigade, the people of Cleveland and those visiting the area can be assured that we have, and will continue to provide an effective emergency response service at all times.”
Ian said firefighters feel “badly let down” by the Government over pension talks.
“No-one wants to see professional firefighters picketing outside fire stations and this includes firefighters themselves,” he said.
“However, they feel badly let down by the Government’s inability to provide an improved pension offer and I can understand why they are taking action.
“I am sure that we all want to see our firefighters back working normally delivering the best possible prevention, protection and emergency response services we can to our local community.
“Therefore we continue to urge both parties to seek a mutually acceptable resolution to this dispute as soon as possible.
“Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to personally thank those who have volunteered their services to provide contingency cover during this latest strike. Their efforts, commitment and professionalism in difficult circumstances has been excellent throughout once again.”