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Firefighters to strike on Friday and Saturday nights

Firefighters outside Ilford Fire Station protesting about the changes to pensions earlier this year Firefighters outside Ilford Fire Station protesting about the changes to pensions earlier this year

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
2:33 PM

Firefighters from Ilford, Hainault and Woodford fire stations are due to strike this weekend in a row over pensions.

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The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has announced its members in England and Wales will strike on Friday and Saturday from 6-10pm, in protest at what they see as unfair changes to pension plans and unrealistic fitness demands.

Firefighters currently taking home £1,650 a month and paying £340 a month into the pension scheme face a retirement pension of £9,000 a year if they are unable to meet the physical demands of the job after age 55 – even if they have been paying into the fund for 35 years.

This latest strike action will be the sixth strike since the end of September and will see the stations on High Road, Ilford; New North Road, Hainault and Snakes Lane West, Woodford Green shut for four hours over both nights.

Chris Young, station manager at Hainault Fire Station ,said: “The majority of our firefighters are in the union, some aren’t, but we will be closing our stations.

“Some staff will work and we have an agreement with contractors that will see 27 fire engines placed in strategic spots across London to respond to emergencies.”

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack added: “The government is ignoring our member’s concerns about increasing contributions which will mean most firefighters paying more than £4,000 a year towards their pensions.

“At 14.2 per cent of pay this is one of the most expensive pension schemes for workers anywhere in the UK.

“The government’s plans are to create a pension scheme which takes no account of the physically demanding job firefighters do and the fire service fitness standards they need to meet.”

He added: “Politicians often praise the work of our members. The very same people are destroying our pension rights and imposing an expensive and unworkable pension which will mean thousands facing the sack as their fitness declines. It is simply not acceptable.”

During the strike firefighters will attend serious fires in homes, fires that involve gas cylinders or hazardous substances, explosions, road traffic collisions and railway and vehicle fires.

They will not attend grass or rubbish fires, animal rescues, people stuck in lifts or flooding.

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