Firefighters are to stage two further strikes next weekend in a row over pensions.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will walk out across the country on Friday December 13 and Saturday December 14 between 6pm and 10pm.
The latest strikes are the fifth and sixth since the end of September and arise out of an ongoing dispute between the FBU and the government over proposed changes to firefighter pensions.
“This further action is entirely the responsibility of central government,” said FBU general secretary Matt Wrack. “The government is ignoring our member’s concerns about increasing contributions which will mean most firefighters paying more than £4,000 a year towards their pensions. At 14.2 per cent of pay this is one of the most expensive pension schemes for workers anywhere in the UK.
“By forcing thousands of firefighters into a new and worse pension scheme, the government is also refusing to honour the pension agreement they made with firefighters on joining the fire service. Our members have paid their share and expect the government to deliver the pension we signed up to.
“The government’s plans are to create a pension scheme which takes no account of the physically demanding job firefighters do and the fire service fitness standards they need to meet. Expecting men and women at the age of 60 to meet the same fitness standards required of 20 year olds is just not logical. Unfortunately the government is ignoring all the evidence on this issue, including its own reports. It is a callous way to treat men and woman who have put their lives on the line to protect others.
“We demand that the government sorts out the mess it has got itself into on this issue.
“We cannot stand by and do nothing as our members’ conditions of service are eroded. The government has refused to take account of the issue, confining itself to issuing misleading propaganda about ‘generous pensions’. These strikes are intended to ensure we cannot be ignored.”
During the strikes, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service will continue to provide an emergency response, but at a reduced level.