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Firefighters across England and Wales have walked out amid a bitter row over pensions, with the threat of further action if the dispute is not resolved.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union left their stations and set up picket lines, leaving brigades to put into place contingency plans.
Firefighters on the picket line today amid a pensions row said it is not possible for most workers to continue doing the physical part of their job past the age of 55.
ITV News' Chris Choi reports:
Firefighters across England and Wales have begun their strike over pensions.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union plan to strike until 4pm, having issued warnings over what they would and would not respond to.
The union has threatened further action in the future if the dispute is not resolved.
During the strike firefighters may not be able to turn up to:
- Grass fires and other outdoor fires such as trees, hedges or undergrowth alight
- Rubbish fires (including fires in bins and skips) and fires on open ground
- Large animal rescues (these will be referred to the RSPCA)
- People shut in lifts
- Automatic fire alarms
The Fire Brigade is urging people to take extra care to prevent fires during the strike.
They say that all Londoners should:
- Check their smoke alarms work
- Plan their escape routes
- Take extra care when cooking or smoking
- Only dial 999 in a genuine emergency
Fire Brigades have been giving the public extra advice on fire prevention ahead of today's firefighter strike, warning people not to forget to turn off hobs and unplug hair straighteners before leaving the house:
Firefighters do not have "an incredibly generous pension" and pay one of the highest contributions "in the public or the private sector", the head of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
Matt Wrack told Daybreak the Government had failed to address "the specific issues" facing the fire service with their pension proposals.
Latest ITV News reports
Firefighters staged a four hour walk out today after union members voted for action during a bitter dispute over pensions.