FIREFIGHTERS in England and Wales will strike again over government attacks on pensions next Saturday, 19 October, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) announced yesterday.
The strike will last for five hours, between 6.30pm and 11.30pm on Saturday 19 October.
The FBU has organised a national demonstration in London on Wednesday 16 October.
It said: ‘This is an opportunity for firefighters, our families and friends to tell the Westminster government to stop cutting our fire and rescue service and to provide decent pensions for all.’
An FBU leaflet and poster have been sent to members and fire stations, informing them to assemble at Malet St, London WC1E 7HY at 11.00am.
Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union general secretary, said: ‘We had hoped our first strike was enough to show government that firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions.
‘No firefighter wants to strike, and it’s desperately disappointing that governments in Westminster and Cardiff continue to deny reality over pensions costs and the need for a pension scheme that reflects the job firefighters do.
‘Firefighters simply cannot be expected to fight fires and rescue families in their late-50s and into their 60s, and should not pay far worse employer-employee contribution ratios than those in the public or private sector.
‘We hope this second strike will mean both governments will be willing to discuss the full range of concerns that firefighters and the general public have expressed.
‘However, more strikes cannot be ruled out if that’s what it takes to protect public and firefighter safety from these ludicrous attacks.’
On Wednesday, Fire Minister Brandon Lewis wrote to the FBU saying that the problem of firefighters facing the sack for getting older was an issue for ‘individual fire and rescue authorities, rather than central government’, and offered to help arrange discussions with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).
However, firefighters have been clear that resolving the problem over retirement age requires the involvement of central government — and that all eight of the points in the firefighters’ trade dispute must be ‘on the table’ during discussions.
The government’s own figures show that thousands of firefighters could face the sack without access to a proper pension, simply because they are getting older.