Firefighters have accused County Hall of playing politics after a road safety event for motorcyclists was scrapped.
Herts County Council blamed the cancellation of Bikefest - due to be held on Sunday, August 17 - on continuing strike action by firefighters over their pensions.
In a statement issued today, the council said: “Ongoing industrial action by the Fire Brigades Union, including 16 strike periods in the week running up to the event, will cause disruption and place additional strain upon Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service. This means that it is unlikely that we will be able to dedicate the resources needed to prepare for the event.
“We also have no guarantee that further industrial action won’t affect the day of the event itself.”
But the Fire Brigades Union said firefighters had already made preparations for the event, which attracts more than 3,000 bikers, and have been left ‘shocked’ by the last-minute cancellation.
Union secretary for Herts Daren Scotchford said: “We cannot see the justification for cancelling an event that is in no way affected by the strikes, which come to an end the night before.
“To imply that because local firefighters are taking part in strike action they are in some way responsible for the decision is misleading and disingenuous.”
The event is a chance to spread road safety messages amongst the normally hard to reach motorcycling community.
Mr Scotchford said: “I have spoken to some of the organisers today and they are angered and extremely upset by the comments. They are very much ready and keen to run the event.
“This is a huge waste of the money that has already been spent to stage Bikefest, money that is now lost to the taxpayer - not to mention the inconvenience to all involved and the disappointment of those who were attending.”