September 18 2014 Latest news:
Friday, June 6, 2014
Firefighters will stage the first 24-hour walkout of their long-running dispute with the Government over changes to their pensions.
Cambridgeshire firefighters will be among those across England and Wales will stage their longest strike of their three-year campaign on Thursday (June 12) – starting at 9am.
A second, shorter strike is set for 10am-5pm on Saturday, June 21.
The Fire Brigade Union (FBU) said that in addition to the two strikes, firefighters will no longer not carry out any voluntary overtime or will call a temporary halt on training “strikebreakers”.
The FBU has staged a series of strikes following a proposal that the pension age for firefighters was increased from 55 to 60 – an age the FBU says would prevent firefighters from being able to do their jobs. They would also have to increase the amount they contribute to their pensions.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said: “The minister has decided to bury his head in the sand, but he must accept that firefighters simply will not give up fighting for their futures — and our fire and rescue service.
“Concerns over these unworkable proposals remain as valid and grave as ever, and the Government has ignored all the evidence including it’s own reports.
“It is as ever a difficult decision for us to take, but the only way for us to resolve this unnecessary and costly dispute is for the Government to start listening to reason.”
The decision to strike was made at a meeting of the FBU’s executive council on Wednesday (June 4).
The day before FBU officials had met the fire minister, Brandon Lewis MP, to discuss the issues but claim their appeals were ignored.
A consultation about the proposed changes has started but the FBU is concerned the Department for Communities and Local Government is not publishing alternative options.
A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “By disrupting constructive discussions and an open consultation with further strike action, the FBU has once again shown the country it is not serious about finding a resolution.
“The Government has made clear that a way forward can be reached, but not under the shadow of industrial action, which only serves to damage firefighters’ standing with the public.
“The deal on the table gives firefighters one of the most generous pension schemes in all the public sector.”