December 9 2013 Latest news:
Friday, November 1, 2013
Firefighters in London are set for further strikes this weekend in a continuing row over pensions and retirement age.
The nationwide walkout will take place between 6.30pm and 11.00pm tonight, and from 6am to 8am on Monday, November 4.
General secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), Matt Wrack, said: “It is ludicrous that, after two years of negotiations, the government has still not sorted out this mess.
“Firefighters are keen for these issues to be resolved through discussion, but the government won’t even listen to its own evidence, which highlights that the schemes are unworkable and unaffordable.
“Firefighters want a pension scheme that takes account of the hazardous nature of the job as well as being affordable and workable for them and for the taxpayer.
“We hope these brief strikes will mean the government returns to negotiations so we can agree a sensible way forward.”
He said the FBU has timed the strikes so celebrations for Bonfire Night can take place safely on the Saturday before November 5 and the day itself.
This is the second nationwide walkout in recent months, after a four-hour walkout, the first in a decade, at the end of September.
A strike was planned for Saturday, October 19, but the union suspended industrial action due to take place on in an ‘act of good faith’ after coming to belive the government was willing to offer a guarantee firefighters whose fitness levels declined with age would not face being sacked.
However, fire service employers confirmed last week this risk does exist for firefighters under the new arrangements, leading to the new strikes.
Police confirmed a contingency level of fire and rescue services, consisting of up to 27 fire engines operated by trained contractors, is in place to deal with more serious incidents across all of the London boroughs tonight and on Monday morning.