Firefighters set for strikes over Christmas

South Wales Argus: Firefighters are to strike on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, the FBU confirmed Firefighters are to strike on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, the FBU confirmed

Firefighters are to strike on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve and launch a ban on overtime in an escalation of their long-running dispute with the Government over pensions.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in England and Wales will walk out for five hours from 7pm on December 24, for six hours from 6.30pm on December 31 and for two hours from 6.30am on January 3.

FBU members in Scotland will also join the industrial action for the first time since the row flared, by joining a ban on overtime.

Between 7pm on December 27 and 7pm on the 29th, all firefighters in the union across England, Wales and Scotland will refuse to work voluntary overtime.

It will be the first time firefighters in the three nations will be taking industrial action in the bitter row over retirement age and pensions.

FBU members in England and Wales stopped work on Friday and Saturday evenings, so after the new walkouts, the union will have staged nine separate strikes since September.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: "Firefighters provide a first-class standard of service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and these strikes will remind Government just how reliant they are on our members' professionalism, commitment and flexibility.

"However, there should be no need for industrial action, and it's absurd that firefighters' concerns over pensions have not been addressed already.

"The Government must stop claiming they are negotiating when they have refused to talk for two months and insist on forcing through proposals that are unaffordable, unworkable and unfair.

"By simply conceding common sense and allowing firefighters a fair deal, the Government could end this industrial action today."

The union has been arguing that firefighters in their late 50s face the prospect of being sacked or seeing their pension reduced by almost half because of changes in the retirement age.

Negotiations have been continuing in Scotland, making enough progress to avert strikes, but the union said no settlement had been made.

The FBU said firefighters' pension schemes are among the most expensive for workers anywhere in the public or private sector, but among the cheapest proportionally for the Government.

Most firefighters, who take home approximately £1,650 a month, already pay £320 or more a month into their pensions, and from next April this would rise for the third year in a row to more than £340 a month (£4,000 a year), with many facing a fourth consecutive rise of 2.2% in 2015, said the FBU.

The union claims that the Government's proposals are "designed to fail" because they ignore the physical demands and fitness standards required by the occupation.

"Evidence suggests that at least two-thirds of the current workforce will face dismissal or their pension reduced by almost half because they are unable to maintain the fitness standards required by the fire service beyond the age of 55," said the FBU.

Meanwhile, investigations are continuing into the death of a man in a fire in London which broke out during the last strike on Saturday evening.

Comments (4)

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10:30pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Limestonecowboy says...

Wonder what the public view would be on this strike action should there be a disaster.
Wonder what the public view would be on this strike action should there be a disaster. Limestonecowboy

11:00pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Mr Angry says...

Blame the Government, workers dont strike for nothing.
Blame the Government, workers dont strike for nothing. Mr Angry

10:16am Tue 17 Dec 13

Sometimes says...

Mr Angry wrote:
Blame the Government, workers dont strike for nothing.
this is the same union that went on strike after it didn't get a 40% pay rise!
[quote][p][bold]Mr Angry[/bold] wrote: Blame the Government, workers dont strike for nothing.[/p][/quote]this is the same union that went on strike after it didn't get a 40% pay rise! Sometimes

7:38pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Limestonecowboy says...

Mr Angry wrote:
Blame the Government, workers dont strike for nothing.
Che ...bring on the revolution !!
[quote][p][bold]Mr Angry[/bold] wrote: Blame the Government, workers dont strike for nothing.[/p][/quote]Che ...bring on the revolution !! Limestonecowboy

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