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Ilford firefighters take part in national weekend strike

Firefighters strike outside Ilford Fire Station Firefighters strike outside Ilford Fire Station

Tuesday, May 6, 2014
9:37 AM

Firefighters staged a national strike over the weekend as part of a three-year row over changes to retirement age and pensions - though they claim it went largely unnoticed.

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Crews at Ilford stood outside the station in High Road on Friday during the five-hour walk-out, where they burned a barrel full of wood. A 12-hour strike followed on Saturday, and another five-hour one on Sunday.

And they believe the strike to such an important emergency service is going not getting enough exposure.

Speaking to the Recorder, a spokesman said: “I don’t think the governemnt like that most of the public support us, and I have only heard one story about it on the radio, and that was this morning.”

The strike comes as part of an ongoing dispute between the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) and the government over raised pension contributions and retirement age.

“It’s about having to work longer hours and pay more into and get less out of our pensions than we were promised,” said the spokesman.

The dispute started in 2011 and regular strikes have been staged by since then.

The spokesman added: “They are not talking to us - it’s been going on for three years. We don’t want to strike, it doesn’t sit well with us. We would break our own picket line if we had to, but you can’t have firefighters climbing ladders at 60. It’s ridiculous.”

The union is angry that firefighters will have to pay higher pension contributions, work into their late 50s and may be sacked because their fitness declines with age.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Future strikes could be avoided simply by the government honouring current pension promises and releasing proposals for the future that reflect discussions we’ve held over the last three years and take account of the evidence we have presented about our occupation.”

He added: “Surely it’s now time for their games to stop and common sense to prevail?”

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