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Friday, 22 November, 2002, 15:52 GMT
Disgust on the picket line
Firefighters picketing outside their station
Firefighters believe they came close to a deal
Hereford firefighter Nigel Stroud has been on the picket line with his colleagues at their fire station. He tells BBC News Online his thoughts on the latest strike.

I went down to my station for a couple of hours this morning after the strike started.

The atmosphere is different this week. People are a lot more disgusted with the way things have turned out.

A lot of people, myself included, are so fed up with all the politics and spin that are flying around at the moment. We're fed up with the way the government has been handling this.

Open in new window : On the picket
Images of the walk-out in East London

By the sound of it, things were getting so close to being sorted out - people are saying the local authorities and the Fire Brigades Union were close to having an agreement.

Even up to yesterday morning we all thought it was going to be resolved in time.

Firefighters keep warm at a picket fire
People have given wood for the picketers' fires
This stoppage is bound to hit public support for us but from what I saw this morning people are still with us for the moment.

Some were hooting their horns and bringing us food. A few people dropped off wood and pallets this morning.

We've also had a few people come up and offer us money for the strike fund although we're not actually collecting that as yet. So from that point of view it's still encouraging.

People are going to die during this stoppage and both myself and my colleagues are desperately worried about that. As with the 48 hour strike, if we get to hear that people are in trouble then we'll try to do something about it.

I'm praying now that the whole thing will be resolved in the next day or two. They've got to keep talking.


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