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30/10/2009 - Support the South Yorkshire Firefighters

FIREFIGHTERS based in South Yorkshire are fighting against the imposition of new shift changes. They are so angry that they intend to walk out every day from this Saturday to Wednesday of next week.

The situation has been worsened by the attitude of the South Yorkshire Fire Authority - SYFA. It’s claimed that the SYFA wants to sack over 700 firefighters and dump their contracts. They will be re-employed – but on a different contract. This will include working four 12 hour shifts in a row. (The current system is two nine-hour days followed by two 15-hour nights).

Firefighters say that this would leave them with no time to see their children and families. Many would also experience problems with childcare arrangements.

Last week workers went on strike over the same issue. Six fire stations closed due to lack of manpower - Brampton, Darnall, Edlington, Lowedges, Rivelin Valley and Tankersley.

The SYFA bosses offered a deal of ten and a half hour shifts—but the workers overwhelmingly rejected it.

Solidarity General Secretary, Patrick Harrington, praised the courage of the firefighters. He said:

“We support the firefighters. They put their lives on the line every day. The South Yorkshire Fire Authority should treat them with a bit of respect. 

Sacking workers and then imposing new contracts on them is not the way to go about things. The firefighters should not be bullied in this way.  

The South Yorkshire Fire Authority should get around the negotiating table straight away. If they don’t I can see this strike escalating”.