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Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 15:57 GMT
Fire boss refutes resignation call
Terry Walker
Councillors say Mr Walker is in the firefighters' pockets
The chairman of a fire authority has defended himself against calls for his resignation over allegations that he is "in the firefighters' pockets".

On Tuesday, at a full council meeting in North Somerset, councillors accused Terry Walker of Avon Fire Authority of being too supportive of striking firefighters.

They say the Bristol-based former Labour MP's stance is making it difficult for the government and the employers to negotiate an end to the dispute.

Mike Roe, the leader of the council, said: "Many members had seen the media interviews carried out by councillor Walker.


We support a legitimate claim for the recognition of their services and I certainly will not resign

Terry Walker
"They felt that he was not acting in the best interest of the employers' organisation which he chairs.

"It was further felt that his bias towards the firefighters undermined the ability of both the employers' representatives and the government to reach a negotiated conclusion to this dispute.

"This view was supported by over two thirds of the councillors present, including the leader of the Labour group.

"I trust councillor Walker will now do the honourable thing and resign immediately."

But Mr Walker responded: "I am not in the firefighters' pockets but the policy of Avon Fire Authority has always been that the firefighters need a good settlement and they need a rise.

"Not the 30% or 40%, but it's always been our policy that that is the question that should be addressed.

Military personnel

"We're not very satisfied with some of the actions of some of the employers but the fact is we believe that there has got to be a settlement.

"It is the policy of this authority that we support a legitimate claim for the recognition of their services and I certainly will not resign."

Recently Mr Walker told the government the authority would not allow soldiers to use its equipment, saying the move would put both military personnel and the public in danger.

"We cannot comply with what the government is asking us to do," he said then.

"It takes 16 weeks to train a firefighter and we do not know how long they are going to train the soldiers."


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15 Nov 02 | England
15 Nov 02 | England
15 Nov 02 | Politics
14 Nov 02 | UK
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