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Pension changes could spell 'danger' for public, says fire brigade union

Some firefighters in our region are back out on strike again - this time for 12 hours.

Members of the Fire Brigades' Union walked out at 2 O'Clock in their dispute about changes to their pensions.

They say they should not be forced to work until they're 60, which is what's being proposed, but the government says the FBU has walked away from negotiations by calling the industrial action.

Graham Wilkinson South Yorkshire Fire Brigades' Union and firefighter Will Selby has been talking to ITV Calendar.

Firefighters march against cuts

Firefighters in Grimsby will hold a march and demonstration today in protest over cuts to local fire services which they say will endanger lives.

Humberside Fire Authority recently announced that Cromwell Road fire station in Grimsby will effectively close, with one of its fire engines moved to Peaks Lane fire station and the other being lost permanently.

These cuts will jeopardise the safety of firefighters and those living in the local community.

"It's important that firefighters and the people of Grimsby stand together to prevent these reckless changes going ahead."

– Richard Walker. Fire Brigades Union secretary for Humberside

Cromwell Road will become a 'community safety hub' with a fire engine being based there occasionally.

Waltham and Cleethorpes fire stations, which are both crewed by 'retained' or part time firefighters, also face being downgraded.

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Firefighters on strike from 6pm

In the last few minutes firefighters across the region have walked out on strike. It started at 6 o'clock this evening and will last for four hours. There is another strike planned for the same time tomorrow.

The industrial action is due to an ongoing row over controversial plans to change firefighters' retirement age and pension contributions.

Firefighters walk out for fourth time

Striking firefighters Credit: Press Association

Firefighters across the region will walkout for a fourth time today in a row over pension proposals.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union will strike between 10am and 2pm.

The industrial action is over Government proposals to cut pensions to fiefighters who are forced to retire early due to declining fitness.**

Firefighters who are forced to retire before 60 as a result of declining fitness could now receive pensions of just over £9,000 a year .** **

** As well as striking today firefighters are also voting in a ballot over additional forms of industrial action.

**

Firefighters get ready to strike

Firefighters are set to strike next week in a dispute the unions are calling a warning shot to the Government.

They will walk out next Wednesday in a dispute over pensions forcing brigades like South Yorkshire to put contingency plans into place.

Martin Fisher reports and talks to Graham Wilkinson the Fire Brigade Union's South Yorkshire chairman.

Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue Service recruiting

Lincolnshire Fire service is recruiting new firefighters for the first time in five years. The service is looking to employ up to ten new full time workers, who will then be assigned to work throughout the county.

Candidates will be assessed on things like physical ability and problem solving, as well as on personal qualities. Five hundred applications will be accepted by the service, with an additional 150 applicants placed on a holding list.

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Investment in firefighter safety

New equipment means improved safety Credit: West Yorkshire fire service

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service is to make a major investment in firefighter safety by replacing over 300 sets of breathing apparatus. The current sets date back to the mid-1990s and are approaching the end of their working life - modern BA offers greater comfort and safety to the wearer.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Craig McIntosh said that introducing new BA equipment would be a challenging process involving extra training and the adaptation of vehicles. The purchase would also need to be made through open tender to meet European Union regulations.

“We all know that West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is undergoing major changes because of financial circumstances beyond its control.'

"But it is important that our staff, and members of the public, understand that we will never compromise on firefighter safety and remain committed to giving our people the very best tools available to do their job efficiently and effectively,” he said.

Fire meeting to discuss cuts

West Yorkshire Fire Authority meets today to discuss proposals to axe 200 firefighters, close stations and lose fire engines. The Fire Brigade Union claims the cuts will slow response times, and that a few seconds delay can be the difference between saving a life and failing to save it.

But fire chiefs claim the proposals, although radical, would improve fire engine response times in 23 higher risk areas

200 jobs could be at risk Credit: Calendar news

West Yorkshire Fire Service to cut 80 jobs

More than 80 support staff from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue face redundancy as the service tries to save money. This brings the total number of jobs lost to more than 100 since 2010 – a third of the support staff workforce.

The move comes as part of a re-structure of the service, which will save £2.5 million per year.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Martyn Redfern said there may be more job losses to come with a potential £12 million cut in central funding between now and 2015.

We shall be slimmer and more efficient as a result of these latest changes with more work moved onto the operational staff and focusing on the most important areas. Our ambition Making West Yorkshire Safer and challenging safety targets that we have set for 2015 remain, so we will continue to provide the very best front-line service possible by making difficult choices.

– Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Martyn Redfern

Resources will now be concentrated on core emergency services.

Fire crews given notice of ballot

Fire crews in South Yorkshire have been given seven days' notice of a ballot for industrial action in a dispute over frontline cuts and management imposed changes to terms and conditions.

The Fire Brigade's Union has given the authority seven days notice to revers or remove a series of cuts. They include closing four fire stations, losing fire engines and introducing a new duty system.

Frontline cuts have got to stop and we need to start filling vacancies. Fire crews have shown they can agree to be flexible to protect the front line, but these cuts are going too far and we have serious concerns regarding the safety of the public and firefighters in South Yorkshire.

– John Gilliver, Fire Brigade's Union brigade secretary