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Tuesday, 26 November, 2002, 17:07 GMT
Devon fire strike-breaker speaks out
Picket brazier
Pickets shouted "scab" as the men arrived
One of the four strike-breaking firefighters in Plymstock has spoken about his decision to cross the picket line for the second day running.

The arrival of the man, and three of his White Watch colleagues, at Plymstock fire station in Devon incited angry protests from around 60 of their striking colleagues.

Police were at the scene as the men, who are not members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), arrived.

The firefighter, who wants to remain anonymous, said it had been tough to see workmates' reaction.


The situation is likely to be very difficult

Phil Jordan, FBU official
"We've built up relationships over a number of years and the minute we crossed the picket line those relationships were lost forever," he said.

"We were aware of that and it is very disappointing for us.

"We haven't done it for any other reason than those I've already stated, that we want to serve the community of Plymstock."

Striking firemen were all kept behind barriers when the four arrived.

The van carrying the men was greeted with shouts of "scab".

Worked together

The South West regional FBU official Phil Jordan said relations between the Plymstock firefighters will be strained when the dispute ends.

"The situation is likely to be very difficult.

"These people have worked together for many years," he said.

On Monday, five men broke the picket, although one later rejoined his striking colleagues.

In a statement, the men who went to work denied that they were strike-breaking.

The men fell out with the union over the use of life-saving defibrillators, which the FBU refuses to use.

Meanwhile, police are reviewing safety arrangements at two Devon fire stations after vandals caused damage to firefighting equipment.

At Totnes breathing apparatus cylinders were tampered with, rendering them unserviceable.

At the station in Kingsbridge two rear inner tyres of a fire engine were deflated to a dangerously low level.

Lives endangered

Both stations employ retained firemen who have not joined the strike.

Devon's Chief Fire Officer Paul Young, said: "The interference with firefighting equipment not only puts firefighters' lives at risk, but also the lives of members of the public involved in an emergency situation.

"Devon Fire and Rescue Service will be working closely with Devon and Cornwall police to step up security.

"We would ask the public to be vigilant and keep a watch on their own community fire stations."


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22 Nov 02 | England
15 Nov 02 | England
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13 Nov 02 | England
13 Nov 02 | England
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