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Sunday, 2 February, 2003, 10:45 GMT
Unions rally in support of firefighters
Fire strike rally
Over 400 firefighters from across the West attended
Trade unionists from across the West turned out at a rally in Bristol to show support for the firefighters.

The mass demonstration by striking fire service workers at the city's council offices took place just hours after the latest walkout began on Saturday.

It heard speeches by union leaders angry at what they see as the government's threat to force a settlement on striking fire crews using emergency legislation.

"The government has said if we want fair pay we will have to get rid of 4,500 firefighters," said Tam McFarlane, of the Fire Brigades Union.

Military cover

"They are now trying to impose a settlement - this has really polarised the unions and many of them have been here pledging their support."

Meanwhile crews from the Royal Navy and Marines are providing cover for the city's fire firefighters.

Minutes before the strike was due to start at 0900 GMT on Saturday, crews were called to a house fire in the Withywood area of Bristol.

Avon Fire Brigade spokesman Mark Webb said: "At 0847 GMT we were called to a house fire in Forest Acres, Withywood.

"Initially it was thought people might be inside, but when we got there, a woman and three small children had got out. We gave them oxygen therapy at the scene.

"The strike will begin once all fire crews have returned to base safely."


Click here to go to Bristol
See also:

31 Jan 03 | Firefighter dispute
28 Jan 03 | Scotland
30 Nov 02 | Politics
23 Nov 02 | Scotland
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