Residents urged to be extra careful on firework night as FBU strikes


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As fireworks and sparklers light up the skies above Redbridge, residents are being urged to be extra careful during another Fire Brigade Union strike.

Industrial action is planned for the days leading up to Bonfire Night – from 6pm this evening to 6pm on Tuesday – in an ongoing dispute about pensions and retiring age.

Redbridge borough commander Steve Brown, said: “We will be there for incidents where our help is required but just not as frequently as normal.

“So we do ask for everyone to take care during this period, as it is very dangerous to wrongly handle fireworks.”

Between October 24 and November 10 last year, firefighters in Redbridge were called out 24 times. During the same period in 2012, their assistance was needed at 39 incidents.

Ilford North MP Lee Scott has criticised the walkout, saying: “It is not the right time to do this and I have severe concerns about it.

“Of course, everyone who is unhappy should do something, but this will cause lots of problems, putting a lot of people at risk.”

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The strike is the latest in a dispute between the government and the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) over plans to make firefighters work up to the age of 60.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “The public do not want 60-year-olds tackling fires. Everyone understands the stupidity of these plans – except government ministers.

“We remain committed to resolving this dispute in the interests of our members and the public at large.”

The London Fire Brigade has arranged contingency plans, including 27 engines stationed strategically around the capital but these are not likely to attend less serious incidents such as rubbish fires and animal rescues.

Mr Brown said: “To stay safe, you must read all of the manufacturing instructions to the letter. If a firework has not gone off, then don’t go up to it, and consider all aspects of your property and your neighbours’ properties to make sure the area is suitable for the display.”

This will be the 47th period of strike action since September 25 last year.