Striking firemen leave their picket line to help injured man
FIREFIGHTERS left the picket lines to go to the aid of an elderly man who had fallen and hit his head.
Officers from Bolton Central were outside the station protesting at government attempts to raise their retirement age and cut their pensions.
Despite their commitment to strike between 6pm and 10pm, more than a dozen firefighters, including station watch manager Ian Read, put their placards down to help the stricken man.
They stayed with the man, who is understood to have been drinking and was also on medication, until he was taken to hospital in an ambulance after his fall in Moor Lane at 8.30pm.
The FBU has announced more strikes over the festive period.
Bolton’s firefighters will leave work from 7pm to midnight on Christmas Eve, 6.30pm to 12.30am on New Year’s Eve and from 6.30pm to 8.30am on January 3, unless the government gives in to the FBU’s demands before then.
Watch manager Mr Read said: “Firefighters join the service to rescue people so we are going against instincts by leaving work.
“We are trying to make a stance to the government but if someone needs help we will give it to them.
“This man looked unsteady and just fell and smashed his head on to the floor.
“He suffered a nasty graze to his head and needed attention so we made sure he went to hospital.
“There were about 16 or 17 of us there at the time and despite the fact we were striking, we felt we had to go to the aid of this person.”
Mr Read and his colleagues left the picket lines at 10pm to start an 11-hour shift, and they went on strike between 6-10pm again the following day on December 14.
The government wants to raise the standard retirement age from 55 to 60 — which the FBU argues is too old for the physically demanding nature of the job — with their entitlement to pensions reduced if they opt to leave earlier.
Mr Read added: “It’s legalised robbery really, ministers are granting themselves an 11 per cent pay rise, while we’re scrabbling round just to safeguard our pensions.
“The government is ripping us off and I hope we won’t have to strike again because it really does go against our natural instincts but what the government are proposing is just wrong.”
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