Letter: One firefighter withdrew labour

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It was with interest that I read your article, in both the Stamford Mercury and Rutland Mercury, regarding the firefighters strike over the weekend from October 31 to November 4.

While I have no desire to pass comment on the reason for the dispute between the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) and the employers of their members, I would like to correct the impression that your article suggested, namely that Stamford Fire Station was not functioning due to strike action. Approximately one third of firefighters at Stamford are members of the FBU, of which one took up his legal right to withdraw his labour during the strike period.

The remaining personnel at Stamford gave cover in the normal way, and, subject to their normal availability were available to respond to emergencies as usual.

Indeed the FBU station representative at Stamford remained on call as normal and responded to his pager in the normal way. Sadly the photograph that you printed was of the three FBU members that have never served at Stamford Fire Station and were on what appears to be a ‘propaganda tour’ of a number of fire stations creating false photo opportunities for the media and other organisations, effectively flying pickets.

Despite the long standing shortage of personnel at Stamford Fire Station, I can only have praise for the efforts that they make as a group, attending approximately 600 incidents a year, helping people who live and pass through our community of Stamford and surrounding villages, much of which is in Rutland, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. All while they have other full time employment to deal with and of course their own lives.

We would like to thank the public for their continued support, and trust the impression given by the published article in this newspaper was in fact an error.

John Murphy

Stamford Fire Station

Editor’s Note: You make some excellent points but I don’t think our story did create the impression you suggest. The story actually said: “During the strike Lincolnshire FBU members were in Bourne and Stamford raising awareness of the issues.”

It pictured some of those visiting members - an appropriate accompaniment to the story. The article made no suggestion of a closure in Stamford.