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Posted on 26 July 2010 at 15:38 GMT

Protest against Warwickshire fire service cuts

Over 200 firefighters and people from towns in Warwickshire gathered outside Warwickshire county council's meeting on 22 July to protest at their plans to close three local fire stations.

"They're going to put people's lives in danger, both the public and firefighters" said Steve Roberts, a local Fire Brigades Union (FBU) member.

The Tory run council had previously wanted to close seven stations, but on the day they reduced their closure programme to three, which shows that vigorous campaigning, as seen across this county, can have an effect.

But firefighters are still angry. In common with people in Warwickshire they see the council as endangering people. Mark Rattray, Warwickshire brigade secretary, said: "Cameron promised he wouldn't cut frontline services, but what's more frontline than firefighters and fire engines?"

"They may hope that after cuts, neighbouring Hereford and Worcestershire fire service will cover the gaps but they face cuts there soon as well."

The decision was preceded by a political farce. Three local Tory MPs said they were against the cuts, yet their Tory council voted for them. This shows that when the ConDem coalition plans for a slaughter of public services across the country meets the determined opposition of working people, then their weaknesses can be exposed.

Steve said many were shocked at the lies of the council and that several councillors who had indicated opposition to cuts, then voted for them at the meeting.

So fire stations in Warwick, Studley and Brinklow are set for closure. The FBU will now move to ballot for industrial action to continue their opposition to closures and a council risking the lives of both the public and firefighters. The campaign across Warwickshire must continue.

Dave Griffiths

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