Hundreds of West Yorkshire firefighters have joined a national four-hour walk out in a bitter row over Government pension reform plans.
Around 200 members of the Fire Brigades Union from all over the region left their stations and set up picket lines in protest from 12noon to 4pm on Wednesday, September 25.
The union is campaigning against changes it says will mean firefighters will have to work longer, pay more into their pensions and receive less in retirement.
The move will also see firefighters having to work on frontline duties until they are 60.
Around 70 Leeds fire service staff who are members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) gathered in Millennium Square armed with “no fire cuts” placards and leaflets during the strike.
At the picket Paul Drinkwater, FBU Leeds division secretary, said: “It’s not only putting firefighters’s lives at risk but members of the public’s lives at risk as well.
“The situation is twice as serious when we have got to rescue our own as well as members of the public.”
Cookridge-based firefighter Andy Ellis, 29, added: “We don’t want to be unsafe. as soon as somebody loses their life over this we will be distraught and hopefully the Government will take notice.
“I know a lot of firefighters don’t want to strike and leave our stations.”
Earlier this week WYFRS said it had set out a contingency plan to deal with the reduced number of firefighters today.
Dave Walton, the service’s assistant chief officer, said: “This plan has recently been exercised and tested using a variety of scenarios and we are confident in our ability to provide fire cover, albeit on a restricted basis, to the communities and businesses of West Yorkshire.”