‘Opportunistic’: Herts County Council cabinet member’s verdict on striking firefighters

Herts County Councillor Derrick Ashley
Herts County Councillor Derrick Ashley

A Tory cabinet member for Herts County Council has said he is ‘extremely disappointed’ that firefighters will be joining public sector workers on strike next Thursday.

Derrick Ashley, who holds the ‘resources and transformation’ portfolio on the authority, spoke out as contingency plans were announced yesterday.

He said: “The proposed industrial action by UNISON, UNITE and the NUT on 10 July is based on national issues over pay, although Hertfordshire County Council is continuing to hold conversations with the unions locally to try and help find a resolution.

“While we recognise that there are strongly held feelings, strike action in key public services can only be to the detriment of Hertfordshire’s residents.

“We are also extremely disappointed that the FBU has been opportunistic in holding a strike on the same day.

“It’s hard to see how this is going to help resolve their dispute with the government.”

His statement was released yesterday – the day after we reported about the public sector strike plans

Herts County Council says it is planning ahead to minimise the impact of any strike on council services, particularly those for vulnerable people.

The decision on whether Hertfordshire’s schools stay open or close as members of the National Union of Teachers strike is for individual headteachers and governors to make.

The county council has urged as many schools as possible to remain open as long as it is safe to do so.

But it does not have any authority to compel them to stay open, whether they are community schools, free schools or academies.

Schools are not obliged to tell the council about closures, so it cannot give an entirely accurate picture of which schools are closing.

Any information it does have will go onto this website

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue contingency arrangements are in place.

However, with fewer resources the ability to respond to incidents is reduced, therefore the public are urged to play their part again and take extra care during the strike action.

Fully trained fire crews will be responding as quickly as possible to serious incidents.

In the event of a fire you should still get out, stay out, and call 999 – you will get an emergency response.

There is more fire prevention and road safety advice available here