OXFORDSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service said it will be able to cope with the latest eight-day strike planned next week.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU), which is already planning to strike on Thursday from 10am to 7pm, yesterday announced it will also take industrial action for up to four hours each day between July 14 and 21.

It is part of the long-running row with the Government on pension reforms, which the FBU says will see firefighters paying more and working longer for less money.

Oxfordshire’s chief fire officer David Etheridge said the fire service had cover in place for the 14 previous strikes since September and has already designed contingency plans for Thursday’s action. In the last two strikes on Thursday, June 12, and Saturday, June 21, it was able to use 19 of its 34 fire engines.

Mr Etheridge said: “Myself and my senior management team will sit down and decide a course of action to provide cover locally during the periods of scheduled industrial action.

“Although these new scheduled national strikes are a change in terms of frequency, they are shorter in duration at two hours each compared to previous strikes and I want to reassure residents that there will be cover arrangements in place in Oxfordshire.”

The FBU will strike between Monday, July 14, and Thursday, July 17, and on Monday, July 21, from 6am-8am and 5pm-7pm.

On Friday, July 18, it will strike from 6am-8am and 11pm-1am.

There will be a strike on Saturday, July 19, from 11am-1pm and 11pm-1am, and on Sunday, July 20, it will be running from 5pm-7pm.

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