With firefighters in Eastbourne and the surrounding areas striking tonight Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is calling for members of the public to put safety first amid the festivities.
Members of the Fire Brigade Union are taking action tonight between 7pm and midnight and on New Year’s Eve from 6.30pm-12.30am as part of the ongoing dispute with the government over pensions and working conditions.
A spokesperson for the fire service said, “Whether you are on the move, out on the town or in your armchair for the holiday period, there are ways that you can help us to keep our limited resources available for real emergencies.
“East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service will continue to provide emergency cover during this time, prioritising emergencies where lives are at risk, but emergency cover will be reduced at this busy time of year.
“Members of the public must think carefully about their Christmas and New Year plans and, if necessary, make adjustments to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
Chief Fire Officer and chief executive Des Prichard said, “While we don’t want to spoil peoples’ fun, we cannot ignore the particular challenges posed by calling a strike at this time of year and the announcement that FBU members are also taking ‘action short of a strike’ over the festive period.
“The timing of the strikes – particularly the second stoppage covering New Year’s Eve – means that we need members of the public to take sensible precautions whatever their plans.
“Please take care, but if you do have a fire, get out, stay out and dial 999 – we will respond.”
FBU members voted to take “action short of a strike” as an additional form of industrial action.
The union has announced details of its first action short of a strike.
Today Christmas Eve, FBU members working in control will refuse to work voluntary overtime and between 7pm on Friday December 27 and 7pm Sunday December 29 FBU members, except those working in control, will refuse to work voluntary overtime.
The fire service says it has adjusted its contingency plans to take account of this development.