Backing for call to keep Blaina fire station
10:38am Thursday 26th September 2013 in News
COUNCILLORS yesterday put their political backing behind a Blaenau Gwent fire station faced with closure, while firefighters across the country staged industrial action.
Blaina fire station, which is staffed by 14 retained firefighters, could close under money-saving plans by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, with Cwmbran’s retained appliance also affected.
Yesterday’s four-hour strike as part of a dispute over pensions meant that a pump driven by military firefighters attended a car crash outside the George Hotel in Maindee, Newport, at 2.22pm.
Assistant chief fire officer Rod Hammerton said he was pleased with how South Wales Fire and Rescue Service had managed its services during the strike action and said arrangements proved to be “robust and well rehearsed”.
“I would like to take this opportunity to note the professionalism of our operational staff,” said Mr Hammerton. “Understandably emotions can run high at times such as these but I am pleased to say that their behaviour has been measured throughout.”
Although the strike is over, it is unclear whether there will be further industrial action by fire fighters, he said.
A peaceful demonstration against the closure of Blaina fire station took place last night outside the station, while chief fire officer Huw Jakeway spoke to staff inside the building.
An online petition has gathered more than 1,200 signatures.
Blaenau Gwent council leader Hedley McCarthy said yesterday that the retained officers in Blaina are willing to risk their lives for their wage of £700 per month.
He said: “The Blaina station is the only station to be fully operational 100 per cent of the time for the last six years.”
In a statement the fire service said changes to the way they deliver services “will not significantly increase” the risk to the communities.
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