Firefighters to strike on October 19
Firefighters will strike again over government attacks on pensions, the Fire Brigades Union has announced.
The strike will last for five hours, between 6.30pm and 11.30pm on Saturday October 19.
Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union (FBU) General Secretary, said: “We had hoped our first strike was enough to show government that firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions.
“No firefighter wants to strike, and it’s desperately disappointing that governments in Westminster and Cardiff continue to deny reality over pensions costs and the need for a pension scheme that reflects the job firefighters do.
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“Firefighters simply cannot be expected to fight fires and rescue families in their late-50s and into their 60s, and should not pay far worse ratios employer-employee contributions than those in the public or private sector.
“We hope this second strike will mean both governments will be willing to discuss the full range of concerns that firefighters and the general public have expressed.
“However, more strikes cannot be ruled out if that’s what it takes to protect public and firefighter safety from these ludicrous attacks.”
A recent government review found that over half of current firefighters between the ages of 50 and 54 are no longer able to meet fire and rescue service fitness standards for fighting fires. Beyond the age of 55, two thirds fail to meet the standards.
And although the government has previously claimed that older firefighters could be moved to less physically demanding roles, FBU research found only a handful of ‘redeployment’ opportunities in fire and rescue services, meaning mass sackings would be inevitable.
Firefighters already pay some of the highest pension contributions in the UK public or private sector and have seen increases for two consecutive years. The majority of firefighters already pay almost 13% of their salary in contributions with further increases due next year. This will mean some firefighters now face an increase six years in a row.
Cornwall Council confirmed that resilience arrangements have been put in place during the strike action and 999 calls will be responded to.