Essex firefighters' strike passed 'largely without incident'

Members of the Fire Brigades Union set up a picket line in Colchester

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The first strike by firefighters in Essex since 2003 passed "largely without incident", fire chiefs have said.

Crews were called to 25 incidents across the county as Fire Brigades Union (FBU) members walked out from 10:00 to 18:00 BST.

A road crash, a man stuck on a conservatory roof and a boy locked in a car were among the call-outs.

Essex fire service said its contingency plans had "stood up well".

Asst Ch Fire Officer Dave Bill said: "From an operations point of view the day passed largely without incident.

'Solid support'

"We will be reviewing our activities in detail but as expected there were no serious issues and our plans stood up well."

Ch Fire Officer David Johnson added: "Crews on the run did an excellent job and we have been delighted by their dedication and commitment."

More talks in the dispute over changes to working conditions and staffing are planned for 5 July.

An Essex fire service spokesman said the strike - the first of five planned over the next four months - was the county's first since national action in 2003.

Union officials said the action followed a reduction in front-line firefighter numbers and other changes.

The FBU claims Essex will have lost one-in-five front-line firefighters since 2008 if planned cuts go ahead.

Alan Chinn-Shaw, FBU brigade chair, said: "There has been solid support for this strike and the public have been fantastic in their support.

"This strike is about cuts and imposed changes. Essex fire service has the funds, these cuts and changes are not necessary."

Further walk-outs are planned for 7 and 18 July, 18 August and 18 October.

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