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Fire service: ‘Take extra care during strikes’

Birkenshaw Fire Service HQ. Firemen training. Nikki Patel (Dev's daughter from Coronation Street) taking part in the drills to promote the annual fire service awards. (09050955)

Birkenshaw Fire Service HQ. Firemen training. Nikki Patel (Dev's daughter from Coronation Street) taking part in the drills to promote the annual fire service awards. (09050955)

Firefighters will walk out on strike this weekend as a bitter dispute over pensions rumbles on.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will strike on Friday, May 2, between noon and 5pm; Saturday, May 3, between 2pm and 2am; and on Sunday, May 4 between 10am and 3pm.

There will also be a ban on voluntary overtime across England and Wales from 3pm on Sunday, May 4 until noon on Friday, May 9.

The union is opposed to plans to raise the retirement age from 55 to 60 and increased pension contributions.

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.

“Several members of government were only too keen to praise firefighters during the winter floods, but their words amount to nothing when they simultaneously ignore issues that threaten the future of firefighters and their families.”

The FBU and ministers have been trying to negotiate a new pension deal since the last strike in January.

But the FBU claims it hasn’t received any updated proposals from fire minister Brandon Lewis or the government.

As a result, the union’s executive council unanimously decided at a meeting last week to take further industrial action.

The government has insisted that pensions offered to the firefighters remain “generous”.

 

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