Firefighters campaigning against government attacks on pensions are set to strike again and say it’s “absurd” that issues haven’t been resolved.
The Fire Brigades Union has announced that all members will stop work tomorrow night between 6.30pm on New Year’s Eve and 12.30am the next morning, as well as Friday, January 3, between 6.30am and 8.30am.
FBU general secretary, Matt Wrack, said: “Firefighters provide a first-class standard of service 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, and these strikes will remind government just how reliant they are on our members’ professionalism, commitment and flexibility.
“However, there should be no need for industrial action, and it’s absurd that firefighters’ concerns over pensions have not been addressed already.
“The government must stop claiming they are negotiating when they have refused to talk for two months and insist on forcing through proposals that are unaffordable, unworkable and unfair.
“By simply conceding common sense and allowing firefighters a fair deal, the government could end this industrial action today.”
Leighton firefighter Pat Carberry, who chairs the Beds branch of the FBU, said: “This isn’t something we want to keep doing but we have no choice. The sheer hypocrisy of the government is astounding. They award themselves an 11 per cent pay rise because of a change in their pension structure but they won’t consider changes to ours.”
Leighton crew commander, John Field, said: “We’re not trying to upset the public. We want to keep them on-side. We are all about the community.
“The government don’t seem to realise that if we are unable to meet their criteria for fitness, because of our age, then we shall cost them more money in unemployment and sickness benefit.”