Firefighters in further pensions strike

Firefighters across England and Wales are set to strike on 13 and 14 December over the government’s reforms to their pension scheme.

The proposed changes, which were set out in the Public Service Pensions Bill 2013, include a move to career-average pension schemes, instead of final salary schemes, and a set employer cost cap to ensure that public sector pensions remain affordable and sustainable.

Firefighters previously took strike action on 25 September, and 1 and 4 November, as well as suspending industrial action on 19 October.

Matt Wrack, general secretary at the Fire Brigades Union, added: “It’s now been almost two months since the government has been willing to meet for negotiations despite several invitations from us.

“Until [it does] and until [it] starts to actually resolve the dispute, we’ll keep up the pressure for the sake of public safety and our members’ pensions.

“In a week when the full details of a £7,600 pay rise for MPs, which will also increase their pensions, emerged, firefighters’ anger at the government’s unworkable, unaffordable and unfair proposals will be even greater.

“No firefighter wants to strike, but we cannot allow the government’s ludicrous proposals to stand. We’ll keep on fighting until the government sees sense and comes back to negotiations.”

Rod Hammerton, assistant fire officer at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS), said: “During this strike period, SWFRS will continue to deliver against its statutory obligations to the best of its ability with the very limited resources that are at its disposal and will prioritise deployment of the available resources with a focus on the protection of life.”