The SIPTU National Retained Fire Fighter Committee has today confirmed that union members will escalate their strike action due to the failure of government to respond to their legitimate concerns. SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, Karan O Loughlin, said: “It has been nine weeks since this industrial action commenced and the silence from the Government has been astonishing. It has abandoned the retained fire service, leaving fire fighters at the side of the road in an effort to break their dispute.  “This strategy will not work. The men and women of the retained service are steadfast in their belief that the service will collapse if adequate measures are not taken to address the current recruitment and retention crisis and this dispute will continue until this happens.  “Today the National Retained Fire Fighter Committee agreed that we would inform the management that, as of 8.00 a.m. on Saturday, 12th August, all stations will go dark and will have no internal communications other than life saving information.  “If this does not encourage management back to the table then on Saturday, 19th August, an additional one station will close each week in each county. Stations around the country are already closed fifty per cent of the time because of the refusal by management to agree adequate cover arrangements with fire fighters, and because many of them don’t have enough staff to respond to calls. This situation will now escalate.” SIPTU Local Authority Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien said: “While members are angry at the lack of respect and support for the service shown by management and politicians, they are buoyed by the support they are receiving from the people in their own communities. This anger had transformed itself now into determination to ensure that this dispute delivers for the new recruits that are needed and for the future of the service.”