Fire fighters across the country are to hold three strikes next month in protest over Government plans to change pension rules.
Ministers want to extend the age at which firefighters can retire on a full pension to 60.
The Fire Brigades Union claims many firefighters would be unable to stay fit enough to work and would be sacked, thereby losing some of their pension entitlement.
It says the Government’s own figures show 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” and that “beyond the age of 55, two thirds fail to meet the standards.”
FBU members held a series of strikes last year and will walk out on three days next month:
- Friday, 2 May starting at 1200, ending at 1700
- Saturday, 3 May starting at 1400, ending at 0200 on Sunday, 4 May
- Sunday, 4 May starting at 1000, ending at 1500
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “After three years of negotiations and an intense four months presenting an indisputable, evidence-based case for the need to ensure a pension scheme that takes into account the unique occupation of firefighting, the government is still burying its head in the sand.”
London’s Fire Commissioner, Ron Dobson, described the latest strikes as “regrettable.
During the strikes 27 fire engines will be deployed around the capital to ensure a “basic” level of fire cover but Londoners are being urged to “take extra care” to avoid fires starting.
Mr Dobson said: “I very much hope that the government and FBU are able to resolve this dispute soon in order that the Brigade can return to business as usual.”