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South Essex fire crews joined Christmas Eve strike
PICKET lines formed at south Essex fire stations, including Basildon, on Tuesday evening as part of a national strike.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union were taking industrial action across the country as part of an ongoing dispute over changes to their pensions.
During the five hour strike, which took place from 7pm-midnight, working crews were called to three incidents in south Essex.
At 7.45pm they were called to a reported electrical fire in South Road, South Ockenden, but it turned out to be a false alarm.
At 8.50pm a fire broke out in a terraced house in Whytewaters, Basildon, but it as out before crews arrived.
Around 10pm they were called to help a person stuck in a lift in Coleman Street, Southend.
Basildon strikers set up a grotto and had a Father Christmas at the picket line.
Union boss Matt Wrack said on Twitter after the strike ended: “FBU members. Incredibly proud of all of you. Whilst on strike and for the work you do every day. An incredible team. #WeStandTogether.”
The next national strike is scheduled to take place on New Year's Eve – the timing of which Essex's chief fire officer David Johnson has called “disappointing” accusing strikers of being able to claim double time for working on New Year's Day while increasing costs for the brigade the night before.
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