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The secretary of state for Wales, Paul Murphy, has 'deeply regretted' the ...
The secretary of state for Wales, Paul Murphy, has 'deeply regretted' the decisionby Welsh firefighters to vote for strike action in support of its union's 40 per cent pay rise claim.

'The series of strikes planned by the Fire Brigades Union will benefit nobody and risk loss of lives and damage to property,' he said.

'It is beyond dispute that firefighters do an excellent job, but no responsible government can agree to their demand for a 40 per cent no-strings-attached pay rise.

'Neither councils nor council tax-payers can afford such a massive pay rise. It would lead only to higher taxes and/or cuts in other key public services.

'If such a rise becomes the norm in the public sector, it would mean not just soaring tax bills but, pretty quickly, higher mortgages too.'

Mr Murphy said that Sir George Bain's independent review of the fire service was the best way forward for all sides to examine pay and other key fire service issues.

During the discontinuous strike action called by the FBU, the Ministry of Defence will provide personnel trained to provide basic emergency fire and rescue cover.

'In these difficult times, the MoD will not be seeking to replicate the current fire fighting capacity, but to minimise, as far as possible, the danger to human life in the event of a fire,' he said.

Mr Murphy appealed to the Welsh public to be extra vigilant on the days when strikes take place.

He said: 'Accidents of course, will continue to happen, in the home, the workplace and on the roads. Many of them are avoidable and I am appealing to everybody in Wales to be particularly careful, whether they are cooking, going about their work or using the roads - in any situation where they might put themselves in danger.'

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