Firefighters in the FBU union are due to strike for four days over pension
cuts. The strike marks a big escalation in the dispute, as up until now the
walkouts - since September 2013 - have lasted between two and 24 hours. This
is from Salford FBU rep Paul Davies.
“We’re very, very angry and disappointed about the way negotiations have gone.
Not on the FBU’s part – it’s done a really good job at putting the case across
and explaining why we need a revised offer. It’s the Department for
Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
Nothing’s changed from the start, there’s no bend or give from them. If you’re
a firefighter now you’re going to have to work until you’re 60 instead of 55.
The threat of being dismissed on the grounds of capability if you don’t reach
the required fitness standards is still in place. A firefighter in his mid to
late 50s is going to have to pass the same medical and have the same level of
fitness as a 19-year-old. There’s going to be a lot of firefighters who are
not going to meet the required standards and will be out of a job.
It’s also about the contributions going up – we’ll pay more in and get less
This four day strike can’t come too soon. The fire brigades could barely cope
when we went out for four or eight hours. With this four day one, they’re
really going to struggle. I just hope that the various chief fire officers
around the country can put pressure on the DCLG to get back round the table.
Pensions aren’t the only issue. The cuts seem to be never ending. In the last
couple of weeks four or five appliances have been cut in Greater Manchester.
My station, Salford, has just lost a fire engine. We’re now down to one pump.
The neighbouring station in Moss Side has lost a fire engine as well. The
chief fire officer is saying that it’s because we’re taking action short of
strike action, that they can’t crew those appliances because we won’t do
overtime in the district. But it’s nothing to do with us not doing the
overtime. He’s not recruited for five years. He’s not got enough staff to crew
those appliances because of the cuts.
The pay’s not going up, the pension contributions are going up, and the jobs
are going. There’s no good news in the fire service really.
The obvious thing is to coordinate with the NHS staff: two of the emergency
services on strike at the same time. Either that or a longer FBU strike. An
eight day strike is what a lot of people have been talking about because then
we’re all hit the same, all the watches lose out.”
Firefighters will lose around £600 of pay due to the strike. The National Shop
Stewards Network appeals for hardship collections to be taken to local fire
stations in support of the dispute. The national FBU hardship fund bank
account details are: Sort code 08-60-01 Account number 20034726
FBU solidarity & financial appeal -
Fire strikes escalate: Firefighters in England call four days of strike action
to protect pensions and public safety (Oct 24) read more from FBU website -
Latest firefighters’ strike averted in Wales – possibility of pension
breakthrough means no strike action called for Welsh Firefighters (Oct 28)
read more from FBU website -
Matt Wrack video - http://www.fbu.org.uk/news/2014/10/video-4-day-strike/
Sign FBU pension petition -