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French firefighters to vote on extending action over cuts

FIREFIGHTERS in France are set to hold a new vote on whether to extend industrial action over resources and safety, following two months of symbolic protest.

French law prevents firefighters from a full-scale walkout.

Instead, since their action started in June they have hung banners in front of fire stations and worn T-shirts and arm bands reading: “En greve” (on strike).

The Autonomous Federation of Professional Firefighters warned that firefighters “no longer have the means to carry out our missions or to respond to the shortcomings of the state,” complaining of a shortage of equipment. 

Firefighters have also experienced a 23 per cent rise in the number of physical assaults since 2017.

A recent law allowing emergency services to wear body cameras to film interventions was passed earlier this year.

Union president Andre Goretti said the attacks were partly due to a reduction in the number of firefighters.

“We take longer to intervene and people are getting irritated,” he said.

Mr Goretti called for reform of French emergency services, including increased government funding.

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