Firefighters in Wales stage four-hour strike

Firefighters walk out in Adam Street, Cardiff
Image caption Firefighters have now held four strikes in a dispute over pensions and retirement ages

Welsh firefighters have returned to work after a four-hour strike in a row over pensions and retirement ages.

Fire Brigades Union members walked out from at 10:00 GMT on Wednesday in their fourth strike in recent weeks.

UK ministers plan to raise the retirement age for firefighters from 55 to 60 and say the industrial action is "completely unnecessary".

During the strike, Welsh fire services responded to a handful of incidents including vehicle accidents.

In South Wales, six military and up to 10 auxiliary support appliances were on standby with none of the usual appliances available.

However, the only call-out that required assistance was a lorry fire on the A470, which was quickly extinguished.

"As expected, the number of firefighters from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service who chose to strike was high, which resulted in a large reduction in the resources that we had at our disposal," said South Wales assistant chief officer Rod Hammerton.

"The arrangements we put in place to provide a service during strike action worked well."

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service had two emergency calls, one of them to be hand to monitor a successful emergency landing by a light aircraft at Hawarden airport in Broughton.

Chief fire officer Simon Smith said: "A strike such as this obviously results in a reduction in the resources that we had at our disposal. However our business continuity plans were put into operation effectively and as soon as the strike period came to an end we were able to ensure a quick and safe return to normal services.

"I would again take this opportunity to thank the public for their cooperation and for heeding our safety messages.

"Although this strike is over, it is as yet unclear whether there will be further industrial action by firefighters so I would remind people that attention to fire safety and road safety remains of paramount importance."

In Mid and West Wales, firefighters went to a two-vehicle crash at Whitemill in Carmarthen, and another crash in Abergwili.

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