The Government has criticised the looming firefighters strike as they have "one of the best pensions in the public sector", according to one minister.
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis said:
Firefighters will still have one of the best pensions in the public sector.
New principles on fitness are already on the table with our backing and following a formal public consultation we have decided to make small changes to the scheme which allow us to improve the pension offer for firefighters who retire at age 55 or 56 so they are fairly rewarded, while those who work longer will rightly benefit for doing so.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union in Wales and England will stage short two hour walkouts from today for eight consecutive days, forcing brigades to implement contingency plans.
The dispute has rumbled on for over a year, as firefighters maintain forcing them to work into their 60s will put the public at risk.
London Fire Brigade urged parents to tell their children about the dangers of hoax calls as the industrial action coincides with school holidays.
The capital's fire commissioner Ron Dobson said: "Hoax calls waste our time and resources, but while the FBU is taking strike action and we only have contingency levels of cover it is even more important that we don't get any hoax calls."
As firefighters across England and Wales prepare to stage a 24-hour walk-out, a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said that a solution can be reached "but not under the shadow of industrial action."
The deal on the table is fair and gives firefighters one of the most generous pensions in the public sector.
Additionally, the proposals protect the earned rights of a higher proportion of members than any other public sector scheme.
Nearly three-quarters will see no change in their pension age in 2015.
Under the new scheme, a firefighter who earns £29,000 will still be able to retire after a full career aged 60, get a £19,000-a-year pension, rising to £26,000 with the state pension.
The equivalent private pension pot would be worth over half a million pounds and require firefighters to contribute twice as much.
– A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government
It is regrettable that the Government is still not listening to its own advice or the concerns of firefighters, and is set on imposing these ill-thought out pension changes.
Firefighters do incredibly dangerous and demanding jobs. The public - which has nothing but the utmost respect for our emergency services - will be at a loss to understand why ministers think that at 60 firefighters will still have the necessary strength and stamina to rescue people from burning buildings.
The decision to take industrial action will "damage firefighters' standing with the public", a Government spokesman has said.
The Department for Communities and Local Government, which is responsible for the fire service, said in a statement:
"The Government is clear that further change can be made through constructive engagement, but not under the shadow of industrial action, which only serves to damage firefighters' standing with the public,"