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Suffolk/Essex: Firefighters to strike on eight consecutive days in row over pensions

PUBLISHED: 17:36 04 July 2014 | UPDATED: 17:36 04 July 2014

Archant

Firefighters in England and Wales will strike on eight consecutive days in their long running row with the Government over pensions.

The Fire Brigades Union has decided to escalate industrial action, saying that the current proposals on pensions and later retirement age were “unacceptable, unworkable and unrealistic”.

Strikes will take place on:

Monday July 14: between 6am-8am and 5pm-7pm

Tuesday July 15: 6am-8am and 5pm-7pm;

Wednesday July 16: 6am-8am and 5pm-7pm;

Thursday July 17: 6am-8am and 5pm-7pm;

Friday July 18: 6am-8am and 11pm-1am

Saturday July 19: 11am-1pm and 11pm-1am

Sunday July 20: 5pm-7pm

Monday July 21: 6am-8am and 5pm-7pm.

The Fire Brigades Union has been in negotiations with the Government for three years in an attempt to avoid the implementation of proposals that they say would see firefighters paying more, working longer and receiving less.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “The Government must realise that firefighters cannot accept proposals that would have such devastating consequences for their futures, their families’ futures – and the future of the fire and rescue service itself.

“We have tried every route available to us to make the Government see sense over their attacks.

“Three years of negotiations have come to nothing because the Government is simply unwilling to compromise or even listen to reason despite a huge amount of evidence showing their planned scheme is unworkable.

“Shorter strike periods have illustrated the strength of feeling amongst firefighters whilst limiting disruption to the fire service, the public and our members’ working lives.

“But the Government is merely ploughing ahead, forcing firefighters to react.”

FBU members in Wales and England will also join the huge strike by over a million public sector workers next Thursday.

The firefighters have taken strike action over the past year but the dispute remains deadlocked.

Fire minister Brandon Lewis said: “The deal being offered gives firefighters one of the most generous pensions in the whole public sector and yet the Fire Brigades Union keeps disrupting a taxpayer funded service with more unnecessary industrial action.

“The proposals put forward protect the earned rights of a higher proportion of members than any other public sector scheme. Nearly three quarters will see no change in their pension age in 2015.

“Under the new scheme, a firefighter who earns £29,000 will still be able to retire after a full career aged 60, get a £19,000 a year pension, rising to £26,000 with the state pension. The equivalent private pension pot would be worth over half a million pounds and require firefighters to contribute twice as much.

“Public safety will remain the primary focus and if they need help, people should dial 999, they will get a response.”

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