December 13 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 25, 2013
Firefighters will hold two strikes in their row with the government over pensions.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will walk out on November 1 from 6.30pm to 11pm and on November 4 from 6am to 8am.
The union said the government and fire employers had failed to offer any firm guarantees on jobs or pensions as a result of changes to the pension age from 55 to 60.
A five-hour strike due to be held last week by the FBU was postponed after the union said the government and fire employers had shifted their position and recognised that firefighters faced losing their jobs and a “large chunk” of their pensions under new changes imposed in April.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “The Westminster government has created this mess, but it is refusing to clear it up. It now recognises the problem, but it won’t provide the legal and financial guarantees firefighters need to ensure they have a job and an unreduced pension in the future.
“Firefighters face the sack towards the end of their career and the loss of their pension. That can’t be right. The employers promised to tackle the issue of firefighters facing the sack for failing fitness tests last week, only to say they can’t offer any guarantees this week. That is simply not the way to run a public service.
“The government is now making threats to withdraw some of the other concessions they have made this year.
“Their own report shows most firefighters cannot work beyond 55. They are trying to bludgeon firefighters into an unworkable pension scheme. We are not prepared to be bullied.
“Firefighters don’t want to go on strike, but we are left with no option when the Government and the employers refuse to deal with the problems of their own making.”
The union held a four-hour strike last month in England and Wales.
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “As ever, we are prepared to deal with further strikes from the Fire Brigades Union. Once again we will have 27 fire engines based at strategic points across the capital, ready to deal with emergencies as needed.
“The evening strike date falls on the Friday before Bonfire Night. It is just before Diwali and coincides with half-term, so people need to be really careful with fireworks and bonfires.
“As always, if you want to see fireworks, it’s safer to go to organised displays than setting off your own and lighting bonfires.
“Simple steps like testing your smoke alarm to check it’s working and keeping a close eye on cooking will help to keep people safe during the strikes.”