Firefighters stage further strike action

Buxton Firefighters picketing outside their station
Buxton Firefighters picketing outside their station

Buxton firefighters joined their colleagues across England and Wales by taking part in three days of strike action at the weekend in a long-running row over pensions.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) walked out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday while a ban on voluntary overtime is also in place until noon tomorrow (Friday).

The industrial action comes as the FBU failed to reach an agreement with the government over proposed changes to firefighter pensions, which they say are ‘unworkable’ and could lead to thousands of firefighters facing the sack simply for getting older.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Yet again firefighters have shown the strength of their anger over government attacks on their pensions and have been united in standing up for a fair, workable and affordable deal.

“It’s very disappointing that we’ve been forced to hold another three days of strikes but nothing will deflect firefighters resolve when the future of their families — and the fire and rescue service itself — is at stake.

“Just like the current bout of industrial action, future strikes could be avoided simply by the government honouring current pension promises and releasing proposals for the future that reflect the discussions we’ve held over the last three years and take account of the evidence we have presented about our occupation.

“Surely it’s now time for their games to stop and common sense to prevail?”

The FBU said issues firefighters have over the government’s pension proposals include the amount they would be expected to pay in employee contributions and firefighters facing the risk of the sack simply because their fitness declines as they get older.

Many are also concerned that the pensions of existing firefighters are not sufficiently protected from the proposals and existing agreements are being ripped up and that anyone who wants to or must retire after 55 faces losing almost 50 per cent of their pension.