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EDITIONS
 Friday, 29 November, 2002, 15:41 GMT
Firefighters jeer Blair
striking firefighters
Angry firefighters shouted at Mr Blair in Newcastle
Striking firefighters heckled Prime Minister Tony Blair during visits in the North East on Friday.

Strikers shouted at him as he visited a Territorial Army (TA) centre in Darlington, County Durham.

And firefighters blew whistles and sounded klaxons as he attended the opening of a school building in Newcastle.

Mr Blair repeated his warning that firefighters would achieve nothing through strike action.

Tony Blair in Darlington
Mr Blair met troops in Darlington

At the TA centre, Mr Blair watched a mock car crash.

Army and RAF crews used a Green Goddess, a reserve red fire engine and a rescue vehicle with breathing gear.

After the 15-minute demonstration Mr Blair met members of the 40th Regiment Royal Artillery and thanked them for their efforts.

He said later firefighters had been offered a 4% rise under the existing pay formula.

Police hold crowd

"That's as much as anyone is getting in other parts of the public sector.

Tony Blair arrives in Gosforth
Police held back striking firefighters
"If they want more than that, it's got to be paid for by a change in working practices and people have to get round the table and negotiate on that basis," he said.

Mr Blair was later confronted by 100 strikers outside Gosforth High School, Newcastle.

Police held the crowd back as Mr Blair's Jaguar made its way in.

The prime minister opened a 9m extension to the school.

During the visit he talked in French with a class of language students.

Afterwards he passed the demonstrators again on his way to the Nissan plant in Sunderland.

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"The prime minister ignored chants from firefighters"

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27 Nov 02 | England
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