Emergency 999 control operators in Essex have stepped up their fight with Fire and Rescue bosses by beginning an eight-day walkout on Tuesday of this week.
Workers had planned to strike for 72 hours but escalated their action after bosses refused to budge over changes to shift patterns.
Shifts are being changed from nine hour days and 15 hour nights with rest breaks to 12 hour days and 12 hour nights.
One control worker said, “My young children are now having two late nights and one really early morning in order for me to go to work.
“The cost of childcare at these times is astronomical, let alone a worry on their education and wellbeing.”
The increased workload has forced some to leave or to go part time.
The workers’ FBU union has tried to negotiate with bosses—but they have not moved.
The walkout is set to be the longest by the mostly women workforce in the dispute. FBU pickets outside the Kelvedon Park control room were in good spirits, with firefighters visiting strikers.
Workers plan to picket outside every day from 9am-4.30pm.