Firefighters to Strike Over Pensions Row

Industrial action taking place on the four days before Bonfire Night

Firefighters in England have announced a significant escalation of industrial action, with four days of strikes commencing on 31 October until 4 November.

According to the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) website: "The government is threatening to change firefighters’ pension schemes, meaning all members will pay more, work longer and still get less. The FBU is campaigning against these unfair, unworkable and unaffordable pension changes."

Earlier in October, the capital’s fire authority were told that the union was hopeful of a resolution and an end to strike action after receiving signals from new fire minister Penny Mordaunt MP that their concerns would be addressed.

After a meeting on 23rd October, FBU has accused Ms Mordaunt of “duplicitous tactics” as there was no revised offer put forward and the union has signalled a willingness to hold further strike action.

Under government proposals firefighters will have to work until they are 60 instead of 55, pay more into their pensions and ultimately get less in retirement.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Firefighters are incandescent following two months of negotiations which have led to no new proposals.

“Firefighters will not stand by and see our members’ pension rights destroyed by a government which does not give a damn about the safety or wellbeing of firefighters in the long term

“The public do not want 60 year olds tackling fires. Everyone understand the stupidity of these plans – except government Ministers.”

London-wide Assembly Member, Fiona Twycross said:
" The London Fire Brigade strike this week will have many people concerned. The Government proposal at the heart of the dispute is that firefighters should work until they are sixty or see their pension cut. This is no way to treat the people we rely on to spend their lives running into harm’s way to protect the public. The Government must realise the position they are forcing firefighters into especially given their own review showed that two thirds of firefighters will have to retire because of ill health by the time they reach the current retirement age of fifty-five.

She continued:
" Despite the Fire Brigades Union negotiating in good faith the Government seems unwilling to listen and has not made a new offer to firefighters even though they indicated they would. It is deeply disappointing that we have got to this position. What we now need to see is all sides accepting the deep flaws in the current proposals and getting back round the negotiating table".

At this stage we have received no notification of any cancellation of local fireworks displays. The web site will be updated as and when we are informed.

October 28, 2014