Firefighters across South Yorkshire have walked out today amid a row over cuts to their pensions.
The strike began at noon and there will be only eight fire engines available for the whole of South Yorkshire until 5pm this evening.
The Fire Brigade Union’s industrial action will continue at 2pm tomorrow until 2am on Sunday, and again from 10am to 3pm on Sunday.
Firefighters with placards and banners have been picketing outside South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s headquarters at Eyre Street, Sheffield this afternoon and a number of motorists have been beeping their horns in support as they drove past.
Neil Carbutt, brigade secretary for the FBU in South Yorkshire, said: “We are on strike because there’s been no movement in the government stance on pension arrangements.
“There are still firefighters who are expected to work until 60. There’s an increase in pension contributions and we feel the government aren’t listening at the moment.
“I joined at 20 years of age and since then they have said I have to work 10 years longer - so instead of eight years to go I have 18 to go.
“A lot of our workers are in the same boat and that’s why we are angry.”
South Yorkshire’s chief fire officer, James Courtney, said: “Our emergency response service will be significantly reduced during the strike period, so the best way to stay protected is to have working smoke alarms on every level of your home. If you do discover a fire don’t attempt to tackle it yourself- get out, stay out and still call 999.
“We’re also mindful that quite a few people will be using the long weekend as a chance to celebrate, but if you do go out drinking, don’t attempt to cook when you get home- buy a takeaway instead.”