Fourth round of firefighter strikes announced

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THE Fire Brigade Union (FBU) warned of ‘a long, hard campaign’ as it announced a fourth round of strikes today (November 5).

Firefighters all over the UK – including in West Sussex – walked out over pensions on September 25, November 1, and yesterday (November 4).

The fourth strike will take place between 10am and 2pm on Wednesday, November 13 – and it comes as fire minister Brandon Lewis told firefighters he had withdrawn proposals on firefighters taking their pension before they turn 60.

FBU general secretary, Matt Wrack said: “Our members enter burning buildings for a living, and will not be intimidated by the government’s decision to worsen their proposals. This latest attack will simply harden the resolve of firefighters.

“Ministers continue to ignore the professional, evidence-based case firefighters have presented over the past three years and refuse to establish an affordable occupational pension scheme which reflects the occupation of firefighting.

“There seems to be little or no understanding of what our members actually do or the standards they are required to meet.”

“Although we still hope the government returns to negotiations, our members have told us that they are prepared for a long, hard campaign if necessary.

“As a result we are now balloting for further forms of industrial action.

“The fire and rescue service is totally reliant on the goodwill of firefighters on the front line. Many are now performing additional duties and additional hours as a result of central government funding cuts.

“There is precious little goodwill left in view of these attacks and that I am confident that will be reflected in this further vote.

“I urge the government to come back and talk about all the issues in dispute.”

Chief fire officers last week highlighted that the government’s proposals would mean firefighters facing a choice between the loss of almost half their pension or dismissal for failing to reach the standards.