Cumbrian firefighters strike

Firefighters in Cumbria are on strike this morning in a row over pensions.

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Firefighters speak out over strike action

Firefighters in Cumbria were on strike again this afternoon.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union were back on the picket lines as part an ongoing dispute over retirement age, pensions and cutbacks that they say could put lives at risk.

Firefighters claim the government has failed to hold constructive negotiations.

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Government plans to 'punish firefighters retiring at 55'

The Fire Brigades Union said the government was planning to "punish" firefighters who are forced to retire at 55, saying the physical requirements of their role were not being considered by the government's pension proposals. General Secretary Matt Wrack said:

After 35 years of service, and paying at least £4,000 a year, firefighters could now receive just over £9,000 a year or the sack simply because fitness declines as they get older.

Firefighters simply want an affordable and workable pension that reflects the job we do.

Evidence suggests that at least two-thirds of the current workforce would be unable to maintain the fitness standards required by the fire service beyond the age of 55.

Such firefighters would face the prospect of being dismissed or seeing their pension reduced by almost half.

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Latest strikes 'damage reputation of firefighters'

Fire Minister Brandon Lewis has condemned the latest round of strike action firefighters in England and Wales will take take this morning.

Fire Minister Brandon Lewis said the strikes undermine the union's assertion that it wants to resolve the dispute. Credit: PA Wire

Mr Lewis said the offer on the table over pensions was "one of the most generous public pension schemes available" and said further strikes undermine the union's assertion that it wants to resolve the dispute. He said:

"Firefighters will still get one of the most generous public pension schemes. Less than a quarter of firefighters will see any change in their retirement age in 2015 and more firefighters' pensions are protected than in any other large public service workforce.

"A firefighter who earns £29,000 and retires after a full career aged 60 will get a £19,000-a-year pension, rising to £26,000 with the state pension. An equivalent private pension pot would be worth over half a million pounds and require firefighters to contribute twice as much."

Cumbrian firefighters begin third strike

FBU members are striking from 6am - 8am Credit: ITV News Border

Firefighters in Cumbria are staging a third walkout in their dispute with the Government over changes to their pensions.

The action, by members of the Fire Brigades Union, will last from 6am to 8am. People are being urged to take extra care on the roads and in their homes during the stoppage.

The FBU is fighting proposals to raise firefighters' pension age from 55 to 60. The UK Government has described the industrial action as 'completely unnecessary'.

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