A series of Christmas and New Year strikes have been called by the national Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

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Its members will take strike action on Christmas Eve from 7pm until midnight, on New Year’s Eve from 6.30pm until 1.30am on New Year’s Day and from 6.30am until 8.30am on Friday January 3.

The FBU is unhappy about proposed changes to pensions, which it claims would make firefighters pay more and work longer – raising issues about older firefighters being able to cope with the physical demands of the job.

They have previously held strikes on September 25, November 1, November 4, November 13, December 13 and December 14.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service has back up plans in place to ensure it can still answer 999 calls but these plans will not match the Service’s normal day-to-day cover.

Chris Strickland, deputy chief fire officer at CFRS, said: “This latest industrial action has been called at a time when people will want to be at home with their families and this may impact on our ability to find enough suitable staff to provide an effective operational response.

“We will know in the coming days what effect the timing of the strikes will have on the level of service we can provide to the community in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and, as with all the previous strikes, we will endeavour to provide the best service we can.”

As part of its ‘Be Safer... Be Slower... Be Vigilant’ campaign, the fire service is asking people to take extra care when they are cooking or smoking, check smoke alarms and know what to do in the event of the fire.

People are urged to dial 999 as normal, but be aware that calls could be prioritised

For more information on the strike and further safety advice, log onto www.cambsfire.gov.uk

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