Firefighters taking part in cuts protest

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FIREFIGHTERS are heading to London to take part in a mass demonstration about service cuts.

Fire Brigade Union (FBU) chiefs claim the North-East will be among the hardest hit by cuts to the fire and rescue service with 155 jobs set to go.

They say fire services in Cleveland, County Durham & Darlington, Northumberland and Tyne & Wear face at least £6.6m cuts in the next year, with about 120 frontline firefighters’ jobs earmarked to be cut in the same period.

On Saturday 120 firefighters from across the region will be highlighting the expected losses by joining fellow FBU members at a Trades Union Congress demonstration.

Dave Howe, FBU brigade chairman for Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “Cleveland members are attending the demo as a result of 100 job losses over the next four years, including 26 frontline firefighter posts, less people doing more work for no more pay, at the same time as a three per cent pensions increase and a proposed three-year wage freeze.

“They’ll also be there to highlight the issue of the Comprehensive Spending Review and funding arrangements for fire and rescue services, in which Cleveland is adversely affected because industrial risk is not recognised sufficiently.”