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Unions: Bob Crow 'did the best for his members'

The unions Unison and the London region of the Fire Brigades Union have paid tribute to the late RMT union boss Bob Crow:

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Very sad news about Bob Crow - RIP a union leader who did the best for his members

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Bob Crow has died, aged 52. Absolutely devastating news. The thoughts of London FBU are with Bob's family and all our comrades in the RMT.

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Minister 'grateful' to union for cancelling part of strike

The fire minister has expressed his gratitude to the Fire Brigades Union for agreeing to recall firefighters in Kent and Surrey from a planned strike in light of the flooding:

I am grateful to the FBU national team for the implementation of previously agreed return to work protocols for Kent and Surrey given the adverse weather conditions and flooding that are currently being experienced in those areas.

Across the rest of the country, robust contingency plans are in place to make sure people remain safe over the festive period.

– Brandon Lewis, Fire Minister

Read: Surrey and Kent firefighters recalled from strike

FBU: Surrey and Kent firefighters recalled from strike

London Fire Brigades Union has said that firefighters in Surrey and Kent have been recalled from a five-hour strike, which is due to start now, due to the flooding:

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Surrey and Kent fire services declare major incident following severe floods. FBU members being recalled from strike in those counties only.

Fire union: Pension option 'ludicrous'

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The FBU General Secretary dubbed the new pensions "ludicrous". Credit: DaybreakITV

Firefighters are being asked to pay "£4,000 per year" out of a monthly take home of £1650, the head of the fireman's union told Daybreak.

FBU General Secretary, Matt Wrack said: "that is a huge chunk of their salary - one the highest in the public or private sector, for a pension which takes no account of the job they actually do, the physical demands.

"It is based on expecting someone of 60 to meet the same fitness standards as someone in their 20s. We think that is ludicrous."

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Firefighter Christmas strike 'cynical' and 'unnecessary'

The Christmas Eve firefighters strike has been dubbed "unnecessary" and "completely cynical" by the fire minister.

Brandon Lewis was adamant contingency plans were in place should the worst happen but urged people to be extra careful around candles and when cooking.

I met with the FBU on 4 December to continue discussions but their actions today show that they are not serious about resolving this dispute, which simply further damages firefighters' standing with the public.

The deal on the table gives firefighters one of the most generous pension schemes in all the public sector.

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.

– Fire Minister Brandon Lewis

Firefighters due to strike over pensions

Fire chiefs are urging party goers and those staying home to be extra vigilant after the firefighter strike starts at 7pm tonight.

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Firefighters will walk out on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and January 3. Credit: PA

Members of the Fire Brigades Union will begin industrial action at 7pm for five hours tonight. Further walk outs are expected on NewYear's Eve and January 3.

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson explained: "Contingency plans are in place but we're urging people to take care, to be sensible, and to remember that fire brigades could be very busy during the strikes.

"Make sure you keep candles well away from anything that could catch fire and switch off fairy lights when you go out or to bed.

"If you're preparing a festive feast, it's a good idea to keep an eye on cooking to prevent kitchen fires. That way your turkey will be cooked to perfection and you'll avoid having a fire."

Read more: Firefighters in fresh strikes

Wales

Firefighters stage fresh walkout in pensions dispute

Firefighters across Wales are currently staging a fresh strike in an ongoing dispute with the Government over plans to raise the retirement age.

Cardiff Central is just one of many fire stations across the UK taking part in industrial action Credit: Tom Sheldrick / ITV News

Members of the Fire Brigades Union walked out at 10am - the fourth time industrial action has been taken in recent weeks.

The latest strike - which ministers say is 'completely unnecessary' - is expected to last until 2pm.

The union fears firefighters will lose their jobs if they fail fitness tests as part of changes to the pension age from 55 to 60 Credit: Tom Sheldrick / ITV News
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