Dublin Fire Brigade preparing for strike action

SIPTU says there are currently no emergency cover plans for two 24-hour hour work stoppages due for later this month

There are no emergency cover plans in place as Dublin Fire Fighters plan for two days of strike action, according to SIPTU.

The trade union announced the two 24-hour work stoppages yesterday evening with fire brigade staff set to down tools on the 18th and 27th of March.

The action is in response to plans to take ambulance 'call and dispatch' functions away from Dublin Fire Brigade and merge them with the HSE Ambulance Service.

Last month an independent expert warned a special forum on ambulance provision in the city that merging the call centres could potentially affect patient safety.

SIPTU believes the outsourcing of the call and dispatch service could be the first step towards dismantling the fire brigade’s Emergency Medical Service.

The union’s sector organiser Brendan O’Brien said merging the dispatch centres could have dangerous implications for emergency services in the city:

“By removing Dublin Fire Brigade’s call and dispatch you are building in delays into the system where there is no guarantee that if all of the ambulances are tied up and busy that fire appliances can be dispatched within the timely fashion that they need to be to save lives,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said organising emergency cover during the strike action is now a matter for senior management:

“It now falls to the management side to make whatever arrangements need to be put in place,” he said. “Unfortunately we can’t guarantee what level of service will be there on that day but what we can say is that our members will be withdrawing their labour.”

The strike action will commence at 9am on both days if there is no resolution to the dispute in the meantime.